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ECOWAS: Ivorian opposition leaders told to rethink poll boycott

A ministerial mission of preventive diplomacy by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Monday called on Ivorian…

A ministerial mission of preventive diplomacy by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Monday called on Ivorian opposition leaders Henri Konan Bedie and Pascal Affi N’Guessan in Abidjan to rethink their planned boycott of the presidential election slated for October 31st.Both politicians were poised to run for president against incumbent Alassane Ouattara.

“The mission urged the PDCI and FPI presidential candidates to seriously review the decision to boycott the election and the call on their supporters to engage in civil disobedience to protest the electoral process … since they might not be in a position to control the excesses that would result from their call for civil disobedience,” the regional delegation, led by Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said in a statement.

In addition, the mission urged the Bedie and Affi as well as their political parties to make considerable efforts to reach an agreement on the election.

“The mission reiterated its appeal to the CEI (electoral body) to continue its meetings with the various candidates to find solutions to the outstanding issues. It urged the authorities to invite the security forces to remain neutral, and professional in the exercise of their functions,” the statement added, urging the candidates and their supporters to avoid inflammatory remarks and hate speech.

The mission also “strongly condemned” the recent acts of violence in the country and called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint.

During this preventive diplomacy in Cote d’Ivoire, the ECOWAS ministerial delegation discussed successively, from October 17 to 19, 2020, with outgoing President Alassane Ouattara, Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, former president Henri Konan Bedie, ex PM Affi N’Guessan and Mr. Kouadio Konan Bertin alias KKB, as well as the informal group of ambassadors accredited to the country.

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