Ivory Coast's highest court publicly reversed course Thursday, proclaiming Alassane Ouattara president, bringing the country full circle five months after a disputed vote which nearly dragged the nation into civil war.
The head of the constitutional council, Paul Yao N'Dre _ previously one of the staunchest supporters of the country's strongman Laurent Gbagbo _ made the announcement in a prepared statement.
"The constitutional council proclaims Alassane Ouattara president of the Republic of Ivory Coast," he said.
In December, in the days after the contested vote, N'Dre refused to accept Ouattara's victory even though the results were deemed credible by the United Nations, the African Union, the U.S. and the European Union. To be able to proclaim Gbagbo the winner, N'Dre invalidated results from areas of the country that had voted in large numbers for Ouattara, claiming fraud.
Gbagbo's army waged a campaign of intimidation, opening fire with heavy artillery on crowded markets in neighborhoods that had voted for his opponent. He was removed militarily in April and is now under house arrest awaiting trial. It is not known how many thousands have been killed and wounded in the violence.
N'Dre said that the court is proclaiming Ouattara president after taking note of the African Union resolution regarding Ivory Coast. The AU had earlier recognized Ouattara as the country's legitimate president and had called on the court to install him.