Ivory Coast President Accepts Nomination for Controversial Third Term

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has formally accepted the nomination of the ruling party to be its presidential candidate in October’s election.

Opponents say a third term for Ouattara is against the constitution.

Ouattara told supporters of the Rally of the Republican Party on Thursday that he is accepting the call to run in the interest of the nation and in order to continue putting his experience at the service of the country.

Ouattara was asked to reconsider seeking another term after his preferred successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died last month.

Ouattara’s opponents say the two-term limit in the constitution bars him from running again, but Ouattara has said his first two mandates do not count under the new constitution adopted in 2016.

Ouattara's early rivals include former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan of the Ivorian Popular Front party, former president Henri Konan Bedie of the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast, and former foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh.

The election comes after a civil war that began in 2011 when former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office after losing to Ouattara.

The unrest claimed the lives of 3,000 people.

Gbagbo, who remains in Belgium, awaiting a passport to return home after being cleared of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court at the Hague last year, still has sway in the Ivory Coast.

Police in Abidjan broke up a street demonstration by Gbagbo's supporters upset over his name not appearing on the electoral list ahead of the October 31 presidential election.

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