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Ivory Coast Politics

Political System of Ivory Coast

However, the crisis was further aggravated as two new rebel movements MPIGO and MJP (Mouvement Populaire Ivorien du Grand Ouest & Mouvement pour la Justice et la Paix) on November 28 occupied the most important cities in the western part of the country. In January 2003, peace talks began in Paris with the participation of the three rebel groups and the country's main political parties. On January 24, the parties reached an agreement whose main content was the formation of a national unity government with the participation of all parties. Gbagbo sat as president, but got his power cut in favor of newly appointed Prime Minister Seydou Diarra of the party RDR. The agreement also stipulated that the rebel groups should have the posts of Minister of Defense and Home Affairs. It sparked an uproar among the original government's supporters, who attacked Frenchmen and French institutions. The ministerial posts were therefore not occupied until September, when the president bypassed the rebel groups. This led to strong protests on their part, and they left the government for the following 3 months, but returned in December.

On March 5, 2003, one of the major parties, the PDCI, withdrew from the unity government in protest against Gbagbo's methods, and the action has since received support from the other four opposition parties in the government and rebel groups. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how IV can stand for Ivory Coast.

The Civil War has divided the country into two. The rebel groups continue to control the northern part of the country and have refused to be disarmed. A force of 4,000 French and 1,300 soldiers from the ECOWAS countries is monitoring the demilitarized zone between the north and the south. In May 2003, the United Nations Security Council decided to set up a mission in the country, MINUCI, consisting of some 37 military observers. At the same time, the situation is tense with neighboring countries. In September 2002, Gbagbo accused Burkina Faso of supporting the rebels, and the border between the two countries is closed today. The situation between Liberia and the Ivory Coast is also very tense. The two countries mutually support the counter-insurgency movements.

A report by the United Nations Food Organization FAO published in December 2003 confirmed that Côte d'Ivoire is one of 23 countries in immediate need of food aid. Especially in the western and northern areas that are under the control of the rebels.

Also in December, 19 people were killed by an armed attack on the military police outside the state radio and TV station in Abidjan. The streets were blocked off and paramilitary police and armored vehicles patrol the streets of the capital. Acc. the international press was the most serious attack so far this year.

That same month, the rebels returned to the national assembly government, holding a number of ministries. FPI leader Pascal Affi Nguessan stated that he felt "satisfied and relieved". Nguessan added that the rebels' decision was a strong desire to take part in the peace process and that their return to the ministerial posts would lead to a quick normalization of life in the country.

In March 2004, 25 people died during a protest meeting in Abidjan organized by the opposition against Gbagbo's government. The violence unfolded between civilian participants in the demonstration and security forces. Gbagbo characterized the demonstration as an "attempt at armed rebellion." The rebels' leaders declared that they cut off their participation in the coalition government. The PDCI accused Gbagbo of being responsible for the destabilization of the peace process. The UN peacekeeping forces were dispatched to monitor the continuation of the peace process.

In May, a UN report criticized that the opposition demonstration in March by security forces had been used as a pretext for carrying out a planned operation. During the operation, more than 120 people were executed and the UN report mentioned summary executions and torture. The rebel group Forces Nouvelles (UN) declared that its ministers withdrew from the coalition government after Gbagbo announced the imposition of sanctions against them and called for a boycott of the ministerial meetings. Gbagbo fired 3 UN ministers and replaced them with members of the CPI.

 

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