Political Crisis After Elections in Ivory Coast

 

A political and violent crisis has erupted in African Ivory Coast after the presidential election in 2010.  Laurent Gbagbo, who has been in office since 2010, has refused to accept his defeat after opposition leader Alassane Ouattara was declared winner of the elections. The general election should have been held in 2005 but Gbagbo postponed it more than once.

The United Nations and other organizations have accepted the results and are supporting Ouattara. There have been complaints that election results may have been manipulated.  Since the election more violence has broken out in the West African country. Almost 200 people have been killed in clashes so far. The conflict has produced thousands of refugees who are fleeing to neighboring Liberia. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are accusing the army of spreading terror all over the country.

 

Gbagbo, a former history teacher, refuses to step down and is holding on to power with the help of the army and the media. A delegation of African leaders visited Gbagbo and tried to persuade him to step down. They offered him amnesty if he agreed to turn over power to Ouattara.

 

Conflicts have been going on in Ivory Coast for almost a decade. The country is divided among religious and tribal groups. Muslim immigrants have come to work from neighboring nations in the north. They say they are being treated badly and do not have the same rights as the Christians in the south.  As time went on they formed rebel groups. Since then the country has been divided into a northern and a southern part. About 10,000 UN peacekeepers are in the country to keep the armed groups apart. 800 of them are protecting the new president in a safe hotel in Abidjan.

Ivory Coast is rich for African standards because of its cocoa industry. As the world's biggest cocoa producer almost 40% of the world's cocoa comes from the African nation. The money from exports may keep Gbagbo in power for a long time.

There are still options left for a solution to the conflict. Some political experts suggest an agreement in which both parties would share power. This has been practiced in other African countries as well. Others think that the only way to remove Gbagbo from power is by force, but only as the last option.

 

Related Topics

Words

  • accept = agree to, take on
  • accuse = blame
  • agree = to say yes
  • agreement = an arrangement or promise made by two or more groups of people
  • amnesty = to forgive someone, let him go free
  • apart = away from each other
  • armed = with guns or other weapons
  • by force = by using guns and violence
  • clash = fight, conflict with guns
  • cocoa = beans used to make chocolate
  • complaint =  criticism, protest
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • declare = to say officially
  • defeat = to lose against someone
  • delegation = a group of people who represent an organization
  • divide = separate
  • election = when people vote for someone to become president or a member of government
  • erupt = break out
  • flee = escape to
  • former = ex- , past
  • general election= an election in which all the people of a country vote to elect a government or a president
  • human rights organization = group that wants to protect the most important rights of people
  • immigrant = person who comes to a country to live and work there
  • in office = to be president
  • manipulate = to make a result be the way you want it to be
  • media = radio, television, newspapers etc..
  • neighboring = near, bordering
  • option = alterative, choice
  • peacekeeper = group of soldiers who are sent to a place to stop two parties from fighting against each other
  • persuade = influence someone, try to make someone do something
  • postpone = call off, delay
  • practice = carry out, do
  • protect = guard, defend
  • rebel = someone who fights against the government
  • refugee = someone who must leave their country because of a war
  • refuse = to say no
  • remove =get rid of, do away with
  • right = something that you are allowed to do
  • share = split, divide between two groups
  • solution = way out, answer
  • spread = extend
  • standard = here: compared to other countries
  • suggest = propose, put forward
  • support = to be for; to help someone
  • treat = behave or act towards someone
  • tribal = connected to a  group of people who belong to the same race or speak the same language
  • turn over = hand over, give to someone
  • violent = actions that hurt or kill people