Fraud alleged as Ivory Coast votes in multiparty presidential poll

Mark Huband in Abidjan

The Guardian, 29 October 1990

OPPOSITION leaders in the Ivory Coast yesterday accused government supporters of fraud in the country’s first multi-party presidential election.

“There is massive fraud,” said a spokeswoman for the opposition Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), which contested the election against President Felix Houphouët-Boigny, aged 85, whose Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) has ruled the country for 30 years.

The opposition presidential candidate, Laurent Gbagbo, said parts of the country were on the brink of civil war. “We denounce this masquerade of an election,” Mr Gbagbo said, adding that he was awaiting official returns before deciding whether to ask for the elections to be scrapped.

In Abidjan, opposition representatives at two polling stations said they smashed ballot boxes open after officials refused to open them before polling started.

”’We found the boxes filled with PDCI ballot papers which had already been cast. The officials told us the votes had all been cast by foreigners during the night,” said an FPI organiser, Christine Konan.

Officials said they had refused to open the boxes because voting had already started by the time FPI officials arrived.

Gendarmes were called to control an angry crowd at another polling station in Abobo after accusations that the electoral list had been rigged. “Hundreds of people are missing from the list,” said one man.

At the opposition stronghold of Yopougon, voters threatened violent after an unknown official arrived at a polling station and disappeared with the electoral list.



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