Early returns see ruling party leading in I.Coast poll
Ivory Coast’s ruling party was leading rivals in early returns Sunday after local and regional elections expected to gauge support two years from presidential elections, electoral commission data showed.
The ruling RHDP was ahead in an early snapshot of 25 out of 40 of the 201 communes up for grabs in Saturday’s vote.
Minister for women, Nasseneba Toure, was one leading government figure re-elected at Odienne in the northwest.
Nine of the 40 communes indicated wins for independent candidates ahead and a further four were being shown as opposition victories.
Two big opposition parties had teamed up in many areas to take on the RHDP, which won control of 18 of the 31 regions five years ago.
The elections were the first since former president Laurent Gbagbo returned to Ivory Coast in June 2021 after being acquitted by the International Criminal Court on human rights charges linked to post-electoral violence in 2011.
Gbagbo was not able to vote after being struck from the electoral roll due to a conviction in Ivory Coast linked to the 2011 crisis — though his son was standing for his party in an Abidjan district.
“The elections went off calmly,” said electoral commission spokesman Emile Ebrottie, ahead of giving out early results on national television,
Monitoring group Aube Nouvelle (New Dawn) said it had registered some isolated altercations but overall the poll went off smoothly — in stark contrast to three years ago, when contested presidential elections won by Alassane Ouattara saw violence spark that led to 85 deaths.
Some candidates did complain, however, of irregularities — including in Abidjan’s largest and bellwether district of Yopougon.
Augustin Dia Houphouet, candidate of the main opposition Democratic Party (PDCI), indicated there had been “huge irregularities which had besmirched the sincerity of the electoral test.”
In Yopougon, he was up against the president of the National Assembly, Adama Bictogo of the RHDP, as well as Michel Gbagbo, standing for his father’s African Peoples’ Party (PPA-CI).
Official results had not emerged for the district by mid Sunday afternoon.
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