Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union has hailed Friday’s swearing in of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara following a decision by the Constitutional Council to declare him President "under exceptional circumstances."
“The AU Commission welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Council, which is in line with the Communiqué of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) of 10 March, 2011, endorsing the proposals of the High-Level Panel for the Resolution of the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire,” the AU said in a statement Saturday.
The Council was highly blamed for precipitating the Presidential power struggle between the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and the presidential challenger, Ouattara, who was certified winner of the country’s presidential polls in November 2010.
Although Ouattara was crowned the winner of the 28 November Presidential run-off vote against his rival, the Council invalidated votes from Ouattara’s strongholds in parts of Cote d’Ivoire, leading to a political stalemate, which resulted into a civil war.
Gbagbo was forcefully ousted from the Presidency after a civil crisis that lasted several months. He has been put under house arrest and could be put to trial over the atrocities committed during his controversial short-term as President since December.
European Union observers accused incumbent Gbagbo of manipulating the media to his advantage, claiming an artificial civil unrest was precipitated in the run up to the elections to justify the imposition of a state of emergency in some areas.
President Ouattara was sworn in after the Constitutional Council proclaimed him as President “due to exceptional circumstances.” The council also recognized the validity of the actions he has already taken as President.
Those actions included the appointment of a former Prime Minister to head a national reconciliation, dialogue and truth commission as proposed by the Peace and Security Council.
The AU formed a high-level panel of the continent’s leaders to work out a comprehensive solution to the political crisis under the guidance of the PSC. The panel decided to recognize Ouattara’s victory and urged Gbagbo to step aside.
“The Commission reaffirms the readiness of the AU, in close cooperation with ECOWAS, to contribute actively to the overall process of consolidating peace in Cote d’Ivoire, including national reconciliation and post-conflict reconstruction and development,” the AU statement added.
-0- PANA AO/BOS 7May2011