Ouattara won the presidency in an election held five months ago [AFP]

Alassane Ouattara has been sworn in as Ivory Coast president in a ceremony after months of political violence in the world's leading cocoa producer followed his victory in last November's elections.

Ouattara, 69, was sworn in at the presidential palace on Friday by the head of the Constitutional Council, Paul Yao N'Dre, watched by members of his government, the armed forces and the diplomatic community.

'New era'

"It's the start of a new era of reconciliation and unity between all the daughters, and all the sons of our dear Ivory Coast," Ouattara said in a brief speech after taking the oath of office.

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Ouattara has spent most of the last five months barricaded inside a hotel because Laurent Gbagbo, the country's longtime ruler who had lost the election, refused to cede office.

He was surrounded by troops loyal to Gbagbo, who used the army to oppress the population.

More than 1,000 civilians are estimated to have died in violence before Gbagbo was removed militarily last month.

He is now under house arrest in a remote town 700km north of the country's largest city, Abidjan.

It was N'Dre who had refused to confirm Ouattara's win in the November 28 election.

N'Dre invalidated results from Ouattara strongholds in order to hand victory to Gbagbo. But on Thursday he said the court now accepted Ouattara had won the election.

Source: Agencies