Ivory Coast prez marks more than 100 days in power

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2011 2:08 PM
Ivory Coast prez marks more than 100 days in power

Ivory Coast's president on Monday marked more than 100 days in office following a disputed election and months of turmoil that left thousands dead.

President Alassane Ouattara touted the launching of a truth and reconciliation commission to promote healing. Ivory Coast's economy also has rebounded faster than expected since the inauguration.

"The image of the presidency (has been) restored," said Ouattara, who won the November runoff election but could not assume the presidency when incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat after a decade in power.

Critics, though, have raised questions about the fighters who helped Ouattara take office along with assistance from U.N. and French forces.

A spokesman for Gbagbo's party told The Associated Press that men wearing the military uniforms of the Republican Forces that backed Ouattara had attacked several people in Abidjan over the weekend.

Augustin Guehoun said that Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front was holding only its second public meeting since the crisis ended when men in Republican Forces uniforms cut the electricity running to the microphone and began kicking people.

The United Nations mission in Ivory Coast issued a statement on Monday condemning the attack and calling on local authorities to investigate.

"We are fighting to stop violence. Incidents like this could interrupt the whole peace process," U.N. resident spokesman Hamadoun Toure said.

More than 1 million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the months-long power struggle between the two rivals. The standoff threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer, once divided in two by violence nearly a decade ago.

Human Rights Watch has said that military leaders from both sides of Ivory Coast's political divide committed war crimes during months of postelection violence, and the group has called on the government to prosecute all suspects equally.

The group warned earlier this month that the government's failure to charge anyone loyal to Ouattara was setting the stage for "victor's justice." Even though Gbagbo clung to power after losing the election, he still garnered 46 percent of the runoff vote.