Ivory Coast’s Ouattara to Attempt Takeover of Offices

(Corrects time of curfew in final paragraph on story published Dec. 13.)

Ivory Coast’s rival cabinet, backed by the United Nations and the African Union, will attempt to take control of government offices on Dec. 17, said Guillaume Soro, the prime minister chosen by Alassane Ouattara.

Politicians appointed to Ouattara’s cabinet will try to hold a “council of ministers” in the Plateau neighborhood of Abidjan, the commercial capital, where the state offices are located, Soro said in an e-mailed statement today.

The move will be the first attempt for Ouattara’s government to meet outside the Golf Hotel, where they have been based for more than a week. Ouattara was named winner of the Nov. 28 election, garnering 54.1 percent of the vote, according to the country’s electoral commission. The proclamation was annulled by the Constitutional Council on Dec. 3, which named incumbent Laurent Gbagbo the victor after canceling ballots from the country’s north amid claims of irregularities.

Earlier today, security forces loyal to Gbagbo blocked the main road leading to the hotel, sparking a clash with Forces Nouvelles fighters who support Ouattara and had been guarding the site along with United Nations personnel. Shots were fired, though it wasn’t clear where they came from, said Amadou Coulibaly, a spokesman for Ouattara’s party. There were no reports of injuries.

The European Union today repeated its support for Ouattara and pledged to place bans on visas and to freeze the assets of leaders “who have refused to place themselves under the authority of the democratically elected president,” according to an e-mailed statement.

Both Gbagbo and Ouattara have taken oaths of office and appointed government ministers in the world’s top cocoa grower.

A night time curfew, in place since the election, was extended to Dec. 21, state-controlled broadcaster Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirienne reported today. The hours are from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., it said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Olivier Monnier and Pauline Bax in Abidjan via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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