Go Now, Ouattara Tells Gbagbo

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The man widely recognised as winner of Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential poll has  said incumbent Laurent Gbagbo must concede power to allow for talks.

A spokesman for Alassane Ouattara said he did not oppose dialogue but no talks could  take place until he was recognised as president by everyone.

The African Union has suspended Ivory Coast while Mr. Gbagbo stays in office.

The election was intended to reunite the world’s largest cocoa producer after a  civil war in 2002. Ivory Coast’s electoral commission has declared that Mr. Ouattara  won the 28 November run-off election by 54.1 percent to 45.9 percent.

But the political stalemate shows no sign of ending soon, the BBC’s John James  reports.

Mr. Ouattara has appointed a new prime minister, ex-rebel Guillaume Soro, and has  said he will start work in his official office next week.

But the building is still under the control of Mr. Gbagbo.

With both Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara having taken oaths of office and appointed  governments, Mr. Ouattara’s administration is currently under UN protection at a  hotel in the city of Abidjan.

Mr. Gbagbo has the support of several leading generals and control of state  television. One of his key allies also controls the country’s constitutional  council, which overturned the election results saying large numbers of votes cast in  the north, Mr. Ouattara’s home regions, were fraudulent.

On Thursday, Mr. Gbagbo said he was open to negotiation. But he refused offers to go  into exile and seems to want some kind of power-sharing deal, an option the  opposition rejects outright, our correspondent says. The crisis has hit the Ivorian  economy hard and economics may eventually tip the balance in Mr. Ouattara’s favour,  if the government struggles to pay workers salaries.

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