One dead in clashes ahead of Côte d’Ivoire vote
In Côte d'Ivoire, one man was killed Thursday during clashes between rival supporters of the two candidates in this weekend's presidential run-off. In a television debate with opponent Alassane Ouattara, President Laurent Gbagbo said he would impose a curfew on election day to contain the violence.
A Gbagbo supporter died after a confrontation in Bayota, a western pro-Gbagbo stronghold about 300 kilometres west of Abidjan. He was attacked after he tore down a poster supporting Ouattara.
It was the first death reported in violence linked to Sunday’s second round as campaigning wraps up on Friday with rallies by both sides in the capital Abidjan.
Religious leaders and international observers have called for calm lately after scuffles between supporters of rival candidates.
On Thursday evening, the two candidates took part in a televised debate, the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire. Both candidates were cordial and pledged to respect the outcome of the election. They even engaged in some on-screen banter.
“Sunday evening, you’ll be calling me up to congratulate me on my victory,” said one.
“Oh no, you’ll be phoning me up to say congratulations,” the other responded.
In surprise move, Gbagbo said he would impose a curfew on election day to reduce the risk of violence.
Gbagbo, who has ruled Côte d’Ivoire for a decade, obtained 38 per cent of the vote in the first round of elections on 31 October, while Ouattara, a former prime minister, got 32 per cent of the ballot.