Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has plunged his country into a new round of crisis following his declaration by the country’s electoral commission as winner of Saturday’e election.
The opposition boycotted the polls and has called Ouattara’s victory, which gives him a third term, illegitimate.
Ivory Coast plunged into a brief civil war in 2010, in which the country lost over 3,000 souls.
The country appears not to have learnt from history as the opposition are spoiling for a big fight ahead.
The opposition candidates who boycotted the vote – former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan – have said they will not recognise a Ouattara victory.
In a joint statement on Monday evening, they announced the creation of a transitional council headed by Bedie.
“The council will have a mission to prepare the framework for a credible and transparent presidential election. It will name a government in the coming hours,” N’Guessan said in a news conference.
The electoral commission early on Tuesday announced that Ouattara has provisionally won a third term in office with 94.27% of the vote.
Kuibiert-Coulibaly Ibrahime, the head of the electoral commission said the final turnout for the Oct. 31 election was at 53.90%.
The results have to be validated by the country’s constitutional council which will declare the final winner after hearing any challenges or complaints of irregularities.
Two major opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run.
Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated.
Opposition activists said Ouattara’s decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa.
The activists point to the military coup in Mali, and a successful third term bid by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde.
Ouattara, 78, received over 90% in most districts, although the opposition said his bid was an illegal attempt to hold onto power.
The Ivorian constitution limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara said the approval of a new constitution in 2016 allowed him to restart his mandate.
The disagreement led to clashes in the lead up to the vote, in which at least 30 people died. At least five more were killed on Saturday, officials said.
The world’s top cocoa growing country was spared the widespread violence that many feared would erupt during voting, but many Ivorians fear that the country could experience longer term unrest.
The Carter Center, which monitored Saturday’s election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organise a credible vote.
“The electoral process excluded a large number of Ivorian political forces and was boycotted by part of the population in a volatile security environment,” it said in a statement.
On Monday, gunshots were heard in the upmarket Cocody neighbourhood of Abidjan, the commercial capital, shattering the tense calm that had prevailed through election day and the day after, witnesses said.