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Ouattara moves closer to presidential power

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Ouattara moves closer to presidential power

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Ivory Coast’s presidential claimant, Alassane Ouattara, is close to gaining control of the country with his rival, ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, surrounded by UN troops in the presidential palace.

Gbagbo is being protected by around 1,000 loyalists.

Ouattara says he wants to restore public services and security in the country after fierce fighting between his forces and Gbagbo’s defenders.

Gbagbo refused to cede power after last November’s disputed poll, which Ouattara won by eight percentage points, according to the UN.

The vote was meant to ease tensions following the country’s 2002-3 civil war, instead the poll rekindled them.

France has taken a leading role in trying to persuade Gbagbo to step down and will carry out joint military patrols with forces loyal to Ouattara to help restore order.

Ouattara says he will support international investigations into any alleged atrocities and punish anyone found guilty of them.