So what do we do now? That was the reaction of most Ivorians in the post-election confusion that appears to pose the threat of the country tearing itself apart.
The UN, US and former colonial power France have recognised the victory of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. He has the backing of the northern rebels. He would be Ivory Coast’s first Muslim president.
But the current President Laurent Gbagbo says he is the winner and will be sworn in for a new term today. The army supports him, and has deployed the Republican guard around his palace.
Gbagbo claims the rebels in control of the north of the country rigged the vote there in Ouattara’s favour, and the Constitutional Council, led by a Gbagbo loyalist, supports the claim.
10,000 UN peacekeepers, deployed in the country since the northern revolt in 2002-2003, now find themselves in a hole. A Gbagbo advisor says the UN’s envoy will be expelled if the UN meddles in Ivory Coast’s affairs, but Russia has until now prevented the UN Security Council from issuing a declaration supporting Ouattara.