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The Ivorian Leader Who Didn’t Want to Let Go

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has provisionally won a third term in office with 94.27 percent of the vote, the electoral commission announced, after a bitter election which sparked deadly violence and which opposition voters boycotted. Two main opposition candidates on the ballot had asked supporters not to take part in Saturday’s election, in protest at Ouattara’s decision to run. Their parties said whole swathes of the country had not participated. Opposition activists say Ouattara’s decision to seek a third term was a further blow to democracy in West Africa less than three months after a military coup in neighbouring Mali and a successful third term bid by Guinea’s President Alpha Conde. Ouattara, 78, received more than 90 percent of votes in most districts, although the opposition said his bid was an illegal attempt to hold onto power. The world’s top cocoa-growing country was spared the widespread violence that many feared would erupt during voting, but many Ivorians fear that the country could experience longer term unrest. A brief civil war following a disputed election in 2010 killed more than 3,000 people. The Carter Center, which monitored Saturday’s election, said the political and security situation made it difficult to organise a credible vote.