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Court bars Ivory Coast ex-president from seeking re-election

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An Ivorian court has affirmed the decision of the country’s Independent Electoral Commission to strike off 75-year-old former president, Laurent Gbagbo from the electoral list, his lawyer, Claude Mentenon confirmed.

“It’s a definitive no,” Mentenon told AFP, adding that there was no further legal recourse inside Ivory Coast.

The country’s election officials had already rejected appeals by Gbagbo and former rebel leader, Guillaume Soro to be allowed to compete in the presidential election to be held on October 31, in which the incumbent Alassane Ouattara is running for re-election.

President of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert, said back in August when the revised electoral list was revealed, that anyone convicted of a crime would be struck from the list of candidates.

Four contenders in all were barred from standing in the election on those grounds.

The world’s top cocoa grower remains scarred by a brief civil war that erupted after 2010 elections, when Gbagbo, then president, refused to cede to the victor, Alassane Ouattara.

Months of ensuing violence resorted in the loss of 3,000 lives.

Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity. The prosecution has however appealed that ruling.

But he was in November, sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term for the “looting” of the local branch of the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO) during the post-election crisis.

In theory at least, the former president could be jailed on his return, which makes any return to Ivory Coast a sensitive political issue three months before the presidential election.


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