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Côte d'Ivoire

Ouattara claims victory as Gbagbo backlash mounts

Reuters

Backed by the United Nations and the European Union, Côte d'Ivoire opposition leader Alassane Ouattara on Friday night declared himself president-elect. The move comes amid a tense stand-off with incumbent Larent Gbagbo, who was declared the rightful winner after the Constitutional Council overturned earlier poll results.

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The United Nations' envoy to Côte d'Ivoire was the first to contest the decision by the country's Constitutional Council to name Gbagbo as winner.

"The proclamation of the final results by the President of the Constitutional Council ... which makes candidate Laurent Gbagbo the winner of the second round, can only be interpreted as a decision having no factual basis," Choi Young-jin said in a statement.

He said that he had certified the election process as sound.

Even accounting for alleged irregularities, "the outcome of the second round of the presidential elections ... would not change, with candidate Ouattara being the winner of the presidential election."

Hours later the European Union's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton congratulated Ouattara on his win, while calling for calm.

"I call (on) all parties to the electoral process to respect the will of the people and accept the results of the electoral process as certified by the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations," Ashton said.

"I have taken note of the (UN) Security Council's readiness to take appropriate measures against those who obstruct the peace process, and especially the work of the Independent Electoral Commission.

"The EU is ready to take its responsibilities in that regard."

The military in Côte d'Ivoire on Thursday closed land, sea and air borders to all movement of goods and people.

The chaos that has followed the nation’s first presidential election in a decade has created speculation that Gbagbo has decided to not vacate his post.

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