Ivory Coast President Ouattara inaugurated for third term

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Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara is sworn in for a third term as President in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday Dec. 14, 2020. Ouattara, who received some 94.3% percent of the vote, had been expected to easily win the election after the leading opposition figures called on their supporters to stay home. (Sia Kambu/Pool via AP)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara was inaugurated Monday for a third term in office amid ongoing outcries from opposition parties.

More than 300 people attended the swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace, including about 10 African heads of state, as the re-elected Ouattara called for national dialogue.

“I renew my ambition to rebuild a more united Ivory Coast for a better future,” he said. “We must work tirelessly with respect for our institutions.”

He condemned the violence that has marked the election. At least 85 people have died in election-related violence before, during and after the polls, according to government figures.

Ouattara also vowed to create a ministry in charge of national reconciliation “in order to consolidate social cohesion.”

Independent presidential candidate Kouadio Konan Bertin took part in the inauguration ceremony, however, the opposition, which is still contesting Ouattara’s re-election, did not take part.

On Sunday, the exiled opponent and former president of the National Assembly, Guillaume Soro, called on Ivorians to stand up against Ouattara, saying he risks sinking Ivory Coast into permanent disorder and instability.

The opposition has referred to Ouattara’s re-election to a third term as an “electoral coup d’etat.” It tried to challenge the legality of his candidacy before the Oct. 31 vote, maintaining the president had already served two terms in power.

Ouattara has been in power for nearly a decade. He initially said he would not run again this year but changed his mind after his party’s candidate died suddenly in July. Ouattara maintains that the country’s two-term limit for presidents does not apply to him because of a constitutional referendum passed in 2016.

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