Ouattara Alliance Wins Ivory Coast Vote as Independents Gain

  • Independent candidates win record 75 of 255 legislature seats
  • Former ruling FPI took 3 seats after boycotting previous vote

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s ruling coalition won an almost two-thirds majority in parliament, while the victory of a record 75 independent candidates showed growing discontent with the government and the opposition.

Ouattara’s Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace won 167 of the 255 seats contested in Sunday’s election, Youssouf Bakayoko, head of the electoral commission, told reporters in the commercial capital, Abidjan. It was the second parliamentary vote since the president took office five years ago after almost a decade of conflict. The Front Populaire Ivoirien party, which ruled from 2000 to 2010 and boycotted the last legislative ballot, took only three seats. Two smaller parties won nine seats between them while voter turnout was 34 percent, Bakayoko said.

Most independent candidates are or were members of the two biggest political parties that joined forces to become the ruling party and had disputes with their leadership. At least 50 seats are required to form a parliamentary group.

Reminder

The vote should be “a reminder for the RHDP coalition that it cannot afford to get complacent,” Manji Cheto, senior vice president for West Africa at Teneo Intelligence, said by e-mail. As for the FPI, “securing any seats at all does suggest that the party could in fact salvage what only a year ago looked like its demise.”

Since taking office Ouattara has restored calm and overseen an economy that’s expanded an average of 9 percent a year. Voters approved constitutional amendments in October that included the creation of an elected vice president.

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and 8 percent in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund. Growth has averaged 9 percent since 2012, the year after French and United Nations troops helped Ouattara wrest power from Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to step down after losing 2010 elections.

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