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Ivory Coast's Gbagbo defies world leaders

Ivory Coast's Gbagbo defies world leaders
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Defying pressure from the international community.

Despite warnings of major civil unrest, Laurent Gbagbo has been sworn in for another term as Ivory Coast president.

His victory has been rejected by the US, the UN, the EU, including former colonial power France, and the West African regional body ECOWAS.

The election commission had earlier said that opposition leader Alassane Outarra had won. But then the Constitutional Council, whose head is a close ally of Gbagbo, overturned that.

The army seems to have backed Gbagbo’s victory, while former rebels in the north say they support Outarra’s claim to power. At least 15 people have died in post-election violence.

In the city of Bouaké, Outarra supporters staged a protest, while the prime minister said he and his government would resign because of the overturning of the initial results.

Outarra said: “The special representative of the General Secretary of the United Nations has just certified the results proclaimed by the Independent Electoral Commission, which is proclaiming me winner of the presidential elections. I am therefore the elected president of Ivory Coast.”

Gbagbo supporters claim the election commission’s initial announcement was not legal as a deadline for the results had passed. They also allege there was intimidation and vote rigging.

“We’re very worried,” said one man in Abidjan. “Nothing’s functioning, the economy’s come to a halt, people aren’t working. It’s very worrying.”

All eyes are now on Gbagbo, to see how he intends to convince his detractors that his presidency is legitimate.

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