War fears as Ivorian poll result overturned

The outcome of Ivory Coast's first presidential election in a decade was plunged into doubt yesterday as the constitutional council declared incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo the winner a day after the election chief handed victory to the opposition.

The new results released by a Gbagbo loyalist on national television directly contradicted those announced on Thursday, which were considered credible by the US, the African Union and the United Nations.

Ivory Coast's presidential election was meant to restore stability in the West African nation after a 2002-03 civil war destroyed the economy of one of the most affluent countries on the continent. Instead the poll is now casting a growing shadow. If Gbagbo refuses to step down, many fear the world's top cocoa producer could spiral into violence again.

The results announced on state television by constitutional council head Paul Yao N'Dre cancelled the votes from seven of the country's 19 voting districts, all opposition strongholds where the ruling party claims the vote was marred by violence and intimidation.

"The irregularities are of such a nature that they invalidate the vote (in those districts)," said N'Dre, who is also a senior member of Gbagbo's party.

Erasing those districts wiped out a significant share of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara's margin, resulting in a victory for Gbagbo. His five-year mandate officially expired in 2005. For five years he has repeatedly cancelled the date for this election, claiming the country was too volatile to assure security and later that polls were technically flawed. A 2007 peace deal broke years of political stalemate, leading to the dismantling of a UN-patrolled buffer zone.

The US has urged the parties to accept the election commission's results showing Mr Ouattara had won. "Credible, accredited electoral observers have characterised the balloting as free and fair, and no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process," US National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement.

The African Union said that Thursday's results were satisfactory and asked the country's leaders to put the interest of the Ivory Coast first.

"Any other approach risks plunging Côte d'Ivoire into a crisis with incalculable consequences for the country, as well as for the region and the continent as a whole," the AU said in a statement.

The country was isolated by the ruling elite immediately after Mr Ouattara's win was announced, with a decree read on state TV saying that the nation's air, sea and maritime borders had been closed.

A second decree announced that all foreign TV and radio broadcasts were being banned.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?