[QODLink]
Africa
Cote d'Ivoire borders ordered shut
Military order comes after electoral commission announced that opposition leader had won Sunday's presidential runoff.
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2010 08:12 GMT
The election has been marked by wrangling and attempts by the ruling party to block the release of the results  [AFP]

Cote d'Ivoire has closed its land, sea and air borders until further notice hours after the electoral commission declared opposition leader Alassane Ouattara winner of the West African nation's first presidential election in a decade.

"The land, air and sea borders are closed to all movement of people and goods from this Thursday at 8:00 pm (2000 GMT) until further notice," the army said in a statement on state television on Thursday.

A separate statement said authorities would jam foreign television and radio signals.

Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abidjan, the capital, said the main airport there was also being closed.

'Fever-peak speculation'

The army spokesman who read the statement did not give reasons why the borders had been closed, our correspondent said.

"There's fever-peak speculation that these orders are being executed on the orders of the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo who has decided not to step down following the announcement that the leader of the opposition ... won the presidential runoff that took place on Sunday," she said.

Thursday's announcement that Ouattara had won the runoff came after days of internal wrangling and attempts by the ruling party to prevent the release of results.

The country's constitutional council, which must validate the victory and is led by a ruling party loyalist, has rejected the electoral commission's declaration that Ouattara won the election. 

Paul Yao N'Dre, the head of the council, announced on Thursday that the commission had failed to follow protocol because it had released the results a day late.

He said that because the electoral law had not been followed, the results were not valid.

It would now fall to the council to review the results, he said.

There are concerns the wrangling could prolong uncertainty in the country whose economy, once one of the most prosperous in Africa, was destroyed by political infighting.

"We've asked the [electoral commmision] to transmit all the results to us," N'Dre said. "We will announce the results within seven days."

Disputed tallies

Gbagbo's supporters had prevented the commission from announcing the outcome from Sunday's runoff, saying tallies from at least four of the country's 19 regions should be cancelled because of irregularities.

On Tuesday officials loyal to Gbagbo grabbed the results from a spokesman for the commission and tore them up as he read them in front of the television camera.

Youssouf Bakayoko, the head of the election commission, said that Ouattara won with 54.1 per cent of the vote, compared to 45.9 per cent for Gbagbo.

In a news conference immediately after the announcement of his victory, the 68-year-old Ouattara called on his opponent to respect the outcome.

"I remind my brother Laurent Gbagbo of our mutual engagement to respect the results proclaimed by the independent electoral commission," he said.

"I'm proud of my country which has resolutely chosen democracy today and I hope this leads to a durable peace in Ivory Coast."

The election was the first in 10 years following a brief 2002-2003 civil war that destroyed the economy of the world's top cocoa producer and sent foreign investors and the nation's large expatriate community packing.

The country was divided into two, with Gbagbo ruling the government-controlled south while the north, where Ouattara comes from, remained in rebel hands.

Gbagbo, whose five-year mandate officially expired in 2005, has stayed in office while claiming elections were impossible because of instability.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list