Opposition claims victory as Ivory Coast counts votes


Abidjan, March 7 (AFP/APP):Ivory Coast’s main opposition party on Sunday claimed victory in a legislative election in the West African nation, alleging that preliminary results were riddled with irregularities.
Saturday’s vote was a key test of stability four months after violence around a disputed presidential poll claimed 87 lives in the former French colony.
“We think we have around 128 seats with our allies” in the 255-seat National Assembly, said Niamkey Koffi, a top official in the centre-right Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI).
“Our concern is that the results may be manipulated,” Koffi said at a press conference, warning the government against “any attempt to falsify” them.
The statement came after the independent electoral commission CEI announced early provisional results, which Koffi said were “strewn with fraud, tampering and manipulation”.
By mid-afternoon the CEI had announced around one-third of the results, but not enough to indicate clear trends.
The opposition had boycotted the October presidential election, in which the incumbent Alassane Ouattara, 79, won a controversial third term with more than 94 percent of the vote.
Koffi alleged there were attempts to reverse results from Saturday’s vote in several large cities including the political capital Yamassoukrou, the coastal resort of Grand-Bassam, and key districts of Abidjan.
Turnout had been a mere 20 percent, he added, citing “fear of violence”.
Official turnout from the last legislative poll in 2016 was 34 percent.
Abidjan mayor Sylvestre Emmou, an opposition candidate, said that three people had been stabbed and injured in the economic capital on an otherwise calm day of voting Saturday, while election observers reported no other major incidents.

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