The citizens of Cote d’Ivoire went to the polls on October 25th to elect a President. All indications are that despite some relatively minor problems, such as polling stations opening late, the voting proceeded peacefully, and the process was transparent, inclusive and credible. Sitting President Alassane Ouattara was reelected to head the government of Cote D’Ivoire for the next five years.
This year’s election was important for the country’s national recovery from years of violence and upheaval, and a test of its stability. The last Presidential election in 2010 was disputed, and the sitting President Laurent Gbagbo, refused to acknowledge the fact that he had lost to former Prime Minister Ouattara. A months-long, bitter political crisis followed, resulting in violent clashes between supporters of the two leading candidates, and claiming some 3,000 lives.
The people of Côte d'Ivoire should be proud of how far they have come during the past five years. Today, Cote d’Ivoire can consign that difficult and violent election to the past, and resume its position as a regional leader.
The United States Government congratulates the Ivoirian people and President Ouattara. We also congratulate all candidates for waging a spirited and dignified campaign. They have proven that in a democracy, opposing sides can express different political views without resorting to hate speech or calls for violence and destruction.
The Ivoirians who voted in great numbers demonstrated that they want Cote d’Ivoire to turn the page on past conflicts and that the country is ready to resume its traditional role as a political leader and economic engine for the sub-region. As Côte d’Ivoire continues down its path of democratic consolidation and sustainable development, the United States of America will continue to be an active and engaged partner.