After days of turmoil in which several people have been killed, opposition leader Alassane Ouatarra has been declared the winner of Ivory Coast’s run-off presidential ballot – by the electoral commission at least.
It gives him 54.1% of the votes but the fight could still be far from over.
Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo is challenging the result and wants the country’s top legal body to annul some of the vote.
would perpetuate a rivalry turned emnity between the two men that has engulfed the entire country.
dates back to 2000 when Gbagbo was elected president, while Ouattara was disqualified from standing by the authorities because his mother was not Ivorian.
In September 2002 dissident soldiers tried to overthrow Gbagbo. The coup failed but the rebels were able to seize the north of the country.
Since then Ivory Coast has been effectively split in two between the predominantly Muslim north which backs Muslim Ouattara and the mainly Christian south where Christian Gbagbo has his powerbase.
But the political divide only began in the late 1990s.
Until then, the two groups lived in harmony and the country had – by regional standards – a pretty bouyant economy.
It was the world’s biggest cocoa producer and also exported manioc, bananas and pineapples.
The strong agriculture coupled with wood exports and the most modern harbour facilities between Casablanca and Cape Town assured the country the nickname of the “economic motor of west Africa”.
But the ethnic turmoil stirred by the political games of the late 90s has hit cocoa production hard and set the country back on several levels.
It had been hoped these elections would close a deadly chapter of unrest. Instead, the post election bickering is sparking new confrontations.
Ivorian opposition wins presidential vote