Cote d'Ivoire: Ivorians vote on Quattara's proposed constitutional amendments

Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - Ivorians went to the polls on Sunday to vote on some constitutional amendments proposed by President Alassane Ouattara to end years of instability and unrest across the country, local newspapers reported here.

The reports said that the proposed new constitution, which parliament has already approved, would see the creation of the post of vice president, who would appear on the ballot papers with presidential candidates.

The government claims the idea is to ensure continuity if the head of state dies or is incapacitated, but opposition politicians and critics believe that Ouattara is trying to line up a successor when his term ends in 2020.

According to the papers, the draft also establishes a new legislative chamber in the form of a senate, two-thirds of whose members would be elected, with the remaining third appointed by the president.

It would also suppress a contested clause on national identity — the so-called “Ivorian-ness” clause which took effect in 2000 and stipulates that both parents of a presidential candidate must be born on Ivorian soil and not have sought nationality in another country.

The issue has contributed to years of unrest in the West African country, resulting in a coup in 1999, a civil war in 2002 that split the country between its north and south and a bloody post-election crisis in 2010.

The most recent eruption led to months of post-poll bloodshed with then-president Laurent Gbagbo refusing to step down.

Some 3,000 people died and Gbagbo is now on trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The result of the referendum will be known by Tuesday.
-0- PANA VAO 30Oct2016

30 october 2016 12:27:38

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