Ivory Coast's President Imposes Election Curfew

Published on Saturday 27th November 2010

Ivory Coast's President Laurent Gbagbo has ordered a curfew to begin the day before Sunday's runoff presidential election - a move denounced by the opposition.Mr. Gbagbo issued a decree imposing the nationwide curfew from Saturday night until Wednesday morning (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time ) to maintain order in the vote count. But his challenger, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, called the curfew illegal and warned he and his supporters will not comply with it.  President Gbabgo previously said the curfew would begin after Sunday's vote to prevent violence and interference with ballot transmission to electoral officials.On Saturday, the mediator in Ivory Coast's political crisis, Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, was in Abidjan for talks with Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara about the curfew and other issues.Violence has erupted in recent days, prompting both candidates to appeal for calm. The clashes have left at least one person dead and several injured.Ivory Coast is voting for a new president for the first time since the 2002 civil war.The first round of the election in October passed without incident. Mr. Gbagbo won 38 percent of the vote to 32 percent for Mr. Ouattara. The runoff hinges on which candidate will attract the voters who backed the third-place candidate, former president Henri Konan Bedie. President Gbagbo's term officially ended in 2005. But elections were postponed several times since then because of failure to disarm rebels and disputes over who was eligible to vote.The rebels tried to oust Mr. Gbabgo's government in September 2002, while he was out of the country. The two sides agreed in January of 2003 to create a unity government, but the country remained effectively divided.  A fragile peace accord was signed in 2007.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.



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