“Confusion” say the headlines, and confusion it is as the Ivory Coast still has no results from a presidential election that has split the country down the middle. Challenger Alassane Ouattara is convinced he won Sunday’s vote. He denounced the delay over the results as “unacceptable” and urged President Laurent Gbagbo to stick by their pre-election agreement to respect the outcome, win or lose.
Overnight, a deadline for the release of the results passed with no publication. And the election descended further into farce as pro-Gbagbo members of the election commission itself tore up result papers as a spokesman tried to read them out.
The president’s party claims rebels in the north sympathetic to Ouattara rigged the vote through intimidation. Ouattara says the results are being withheld because Gbagbo knows he lost. Simmering north-south tensions risk exploding again, despite the presence of international peacekeepers. A nighttime curfew has been extended until Sunday.