Côte d'Ivoire

Gbagbo sworn-in, Ouattara swears himself in

Reuters

Alassane Ouattara swore himself in as Cote d'Ivoire's new president on Saturday following Laurent Gbagbo's official swearing-in ceremony. Ouattara's camp called Gbagbo's swearing-in ceremony "illegal" and said they would not recognise Gbagbo as head of state. There was continued international condemnation of Gbagbo’s re-election.

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Ouattara swore himself in following Gbagbo's ceremony. The AFP news agency reported that he claimed the presidency in an email sent to the Constitutional Council.

“In the name of the people of Côte d’Ivoire, we recognise you as sovereign chief,” Youssouf Kone, a senior state official, said during Gbagbo's swearing-in ceremony.

“Gbagbo came into the room, sat expressionless in a chair as the results were read out region by region and then he stood up to receive the oath office. He wrapped himself in the Ivorian flag,” said Abidjan correspondent Marco Chown Oved.

He has won the election, the UN is recognising him as the new head of state, all nations are sending congratulation letters. So there’s no reason for him to wait. So we’ll go ahead and set up the new government.

Q&A - Albert Toikeusse Mabri, Ouattara spokesperson

“At the presidential palace we have every dignitary from across the country who’ve come to sit in the old chamber where the original president after independence, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, used-to give his yearly sum-up,” Chown Oved added.

Gbagbo said he would “respect and faithfully defend the constitution” and “protect the rights and freedoms of citizens”.

“Afterwards he received the gold chain which gives him the right to govern,” said Chown Oved, who was at the ceremony. “He gave a short speech afterwards calling on his countrymen to not allow foreigners to interfere in their internal affairs,” he added.

“I think this ceremony is totally illegal,” Albert Toikeusse Mabri, a spokesperson for Ouattara, told RFI.

“We are not going to recognise Mr Gbagbo as head of state. The new head of state is Alassane Ouattara,” he added.

There have been continued international calls for Gbagbo to step aside.

“My conclusion, by all accounts, there is one winner, who is Mr Alassane Ouattara,” said United Nations special envoy to Côte d’Ivoire Choi Young-jin.

The Economic Community of West African States “urges all parties in the current democratic process to respect and fully implement the verdict of the Ivorian people and declared by the independent electoral commission,” according to spokesperson Sunny Ugoh.

"The results mark a clear and incontestable victory for Alassane Ouattara," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday during a trip to India.

"A president has been elected in Côte d'Ivoire, the international community and the United Nations have recognised it, this president is Mr Alassane Ouattara," he added.

In Paris on Saturday afternoon several hundred Ivorians protested near the Côte d'Ivoire embassy in the 16th district chanting "Gbagbo thief".

European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Saturday that Alassane Ouattara was the “legitimate winner”.

“I want to join the international community in congratulating Mr Alassane Ouattara and I

Reuters

compliment him as the legitimate winner of these democratic elections,” he said.

“I am deeply concerned by the evolution of events in Côte d’Ivoire. I call on all political forces to respect the electoral outcome, to show responsibility and to refrain from any act of violence,” he added.

Two people were killed by security forces on Saturday, according to the AFP news agency. At least 17 people have been killed since last week in election-related violence.

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