December 16, 2011

Alassane Ouattara's RDR wins most Ivory Coast seats

President Alassane Ouattara casts his ballot at a polling station in Cocody on 11 December 2011President Alassane Ouattara urged Ivorians to go out and vote
The party of President Alassane Ouattara has won most seats in Ivory Coast's parliamentary elections - the first poll since ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo was arrested, officials say.
Mr Ouattara's RDR gained just under half the 255 seats, while the allied PDCI won 77 to ensure a large majority.
Mr Gbagbo's party boycotted the poll in protest after he was sent to The Hague.
He refused to accept defeat in last year's presidential election, sparking five months of violence.
Some 3,000 people were killed before Mr Gbagbo was detained by pro-Ouattara forces, backed by the UN and France, in April.
Turnout was 37% - higher than in the previous National Assembly elections in 2000 but far lower than the 80% who cast their ballots in November 2010.
The BBC's John James in the main city, Abidjan, says that most international observers have praised the election, which was generally peaceful.
Our correspondent says that the turnout figure will be seen as good by Mr Ouattara's camp, while Mr Gbagbo's supporters note it is less than half of registered voters.
The former president is awaiting trial on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he was transferred last month.
He is accused of being an "indirect co-perpetrator" of murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts.
Mr Gbagbo is the first former head of state to face trial at the ICC.

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