The Ivory Coast got its name from Europeans
who in the 15th century dealt with elephant pastures and
then with slaves. In the 19th century, France won the
European battle for the area's commodity wealth and in
1893 the Ivory Coast became a French colony. The French
empire was challenged by the union leader Félix
Houphouët-Boigny, who was elected to the French National
Assembly in 1945 and in 1960 led the Ivory Coast to
independence. He then ruled the country as a one-party
state for three decades.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Ivory Coast, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Little is known about the early history of the Ivory
Coast. Ancestors of the Akan people immigrated sometime
after 1200 AD. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Akan
people established several kingdoms in the central and
eastern part of the country, including the Baulé and
Agni people. At the same time there was the Kingdom of
Kong, populated by the Senufu people.
Portuguese sailors arrived in the 15th century and
discovered that there were good opportunities for
trading elephant pastures. Thus the Ivory Coast got its
name. However, as the elephants became rare, Europeans
went into slave trading.
France eventually succeeded in rivalry with the
British acquiring rights over coastal trading places and
began to move further into the country. In 1893 the
Ivory Coast became a French colony and was organized two
years later in French West Africa.
Those who resisted were brutally punished by the
French, including forced labor and taxes. Railways and
ports were built and timber, palm oil and cocoa were
Félix Houphouët-Boigny, educated in France, started a
movement against the privileges of European growers. It
became the country's first modern political group in
1944. Houphouët-Boigny became popular when he succeeded
in proposing a French bill that abolished forced labor
in the colonies. His movement was converted in 1946 to
the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI). In August 1960,
Houphouët-Boigny declared the country independent.
The new state experienced an economic upswing thanks
to rising world market prices for the country's export
goods. The people had a comparatively high standard of
living, but political freedom had strict limits.
For three decades, PDCI was the only allowed party of
the Ivory Coast, but the real power lay with the
president personally and with the state bureaucracy.
Officially there was equality between the groups, but in
practice the president's own people, the baulé, were
favored. Houphouët-Boigny's birthplace of Yamoussoukro
was made capital in 1983, but business and most of the
administration remained in Abidjan.
In the 1980s, the economy deteriorated. The
government's savings sparked widespread protests. A
commission led by economist Alassane Ouattara was
commissioned in 1990 to propose less drastic cuts.
In May of that year, the President gave in to the
demands of introducing multi-party systems. Opposition
politician Laurent Gbagbo voted against Houphouët-Boigny
in the October 1990 presidential election. The incumbent
president won just over four-fifths of the vote. In the
election to the National Assembly the following month,
the ruling party PDCI received 163 of the 175 seats
against nine seats for the Gbagbo Party of the Ivorian
People's Front (FPI).
After the election, a post was set up as Prime
Minister who went to Ouattara. However, discontent
against the government continued, and was severely
beaten, leading to new protests. Many people, including
several opposition politicians, were arrested and
sentenced to prison.
New promises from the president
All of Ouattara's six counter-candidates in the presidential election
participate in the ceremony held when the president begins his second term in
office. In connection with this, he promises to ensure that economic growth in
the country will benefit more. Among other things, this will be done through an
expansion of industrial companies that process food. President Ouattara also
promises to continue the work of reconciliation in the country.
Ouattara wins clear but low turnout
The presidential election will be held on October 25, under calm conditions.
However, it is boycotted by parts of the opposition (three candidates, Charles
Konan Banny, Amara Essy and Mamadou Koulibaly, retire). Some technical problems
with new technologies are reported. Election observers, both domestic and
international, approve the election. According to preliminary data, turnout is
around 60 percent, while some domestic observers say their surveys indicate a
Ouattara wins a landslide victory with 84 percent of the vote, but turnout is
low, 55 percent. The incumbent president wins in all regions except one, and in
the big cities of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. Two will be Pascal Affi N'Guessan
with just over 9 percent of the vote. Before the result is officially
established, it must be approved by the Constitutional Court.
Strong support for the president
Ouattara says he intends to push the issue of abolishing the "nationality
clause" in the constitution (see Political system and Modern history) if he wins
the election. For this to be possible, he first needs to win support for it in
Parliament, which is now dominated by Ouattara faithful parties, and then in a
referendum. At the same time, figures that will strengthen the president come
before the election. According to the IMFforecasts of the country's economy will
grow by just over 8 percent in both 2015 and 2016. However, his political
opponents claim that he is hiding behind the good economic figures, while he
says they have not succeeded in reconciling the country after all the violence.
FPI leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan says that very little of the economic growth
has benefited poorer Ivorians.
Code of conduct is adopted, but not by everyone
President Ouattara, Pascal Affi N'Guessan, Henriette Lago and
Jacqueline-Claire Kouangoua sign a code of conduct before the election, but none
of the CNC opposition politicians sign.
Threats about election boycott
Opposition politician Amara Essy, who is one of the presidential candidates,
criticizes the electoral process, which he says has major shortcomings. Essy,
who belongs to the CNC, says she will consider boycotting the election unless
some of them are rectified. This concerns, among other things, the composition
of the electoral commission and how the opposition must be given more space in
Amnesty criticizes intervention against the opposition
Amnesty International calls on the government to stop harassing the
opposition. According to the human rights organization, some sixty opposition
supporters have been arrested on arbitrary grounds since mid-September. About
half of them are still in jail on October 5. The government denies that there is
anything in Amensty's allegations.
Opposition alliance protests against Ouattara's candidacy
The opposition calls, under the name of the National Coalition for Change
(CNC), protests against Ouattara's approval as a candidate, citing that both his
parents were not Ivorians. In many places, unrest erupts, with protesters
clashing with police. The most serious violence occurs in the village of
Logouata in the western part of the country when rival groups attack each other
with knives and other attachments. An elderly man is killed and several houses
are set on fire. Several opposition parties accuse the authorities of having
dozens of their supporters arrested by police in connection with the protests.
The police must have seized them in their home or on the street. A large
demonstration that CNC planned to hold in Abidjan on September 26 is stopped by
Ten presidential candidates are approved
On September 9, the Constitutional Court presents the ten candidates who have
been given the go-ahead to stand in the October presidential election. In
addition to Ouattara, FPI's Affi N'Guessan, former Prime Minister Charles Konan
Banny and former President Mamadou Koulibaly are among the top candidates. The
electoral movement officially begins on October 11.
The power struggles within the CPI continue
Party leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan is sticking to the plans to stand as
presidential candidate while the hard core, led by former Foreign Minister
Aboudramane Sangare, wants the party to boycott the election.
Milis Group forms political party
Young patriots (see Political system) who supported former President Laurent
Gbagbo are converted to political party soh says they want to work for peace in
the country. It takes the name of the Pan-African Congress of Justice and
Equality, with the same abbreviation as before, Cojep.
Election date clear
The government announces that the date for presidential elections has been
set for October 25. President Alassane Ouattara is next challenged by opposition
party FPI candidate Pascal Affi N'Guessan. That the election was to take place
in October has been known for a long time. One of Ouattara's strongest cards in
the election campaign is that the country's economy is growing (GDP has
increased by 9 percent a year from 2012 to 2014).
Demands that the ICC also investigate Ouattara's camp
Human Rights Watch (HRW) requires the International Criminal Court (ICC) to
begin investigating any crimes committed even by persons loyal to President
Ouattara. The organization says that more and more residents feel let down that
the abuses they have been exposed to are not taken seriously by the
June July Old History
Ouattara supporters are being prosecuted
For the first time, charges against militia leaders are being brought against
loyal to current President Alassane Ouattara for crimes they are suspected of
having committed during the 2010–2011 civil war. In the past, only soldiers and
politicians who were former President Laurent Gbagbo have come close to being
accused of abuse.
Islamist trees worry
Ivory Coast strengthens guarding the border with Mali. This is after more
border councils, which Islamist rebels are believed to be behind. At the end of
June, they entered the city of Fakola for a short time.
New criticism of the reconciliation work
President Ouattara replaces the Reconciliation Commission (CDVR) formed in
2011 with a new group to be led by Catholic Archbishop Paul Siméon Ahouana. One
of its tasks will be to find ways to pay damages to those affected by the
political violence. CDVR has been criticized for having made a lot of money
without reaching any major results.
Gbagbo and Blé are jointly prosecuted
The ICC decides to combine Laurent Gbagbo's and Charles Blé Goudé's lawsuits
as the charges against them are similar.
Ex-military is facing trial
A military trial is being launched against 14 members of former President
Laurent Gbagbo's security forces for crimes committed during the 2011 violence.
Among the defendants include Bruno Dogbo Blé, and Ansleme Seka Yapo. The latter
is suspected, among other things, of having organized death squads.
Increased risk of new unrest
The judges appear to sharpen the contradictions within the FPI, between the
two factions. This means that Ouattara's chances of being re-elected as
president increase, but at the same time, according to some political analysts,
increases the risk of new violence. Pascal Affi N'Guessan has tried to lead the
party toward the political center, while Sangare has refused to take part in any
political elections or talks unless Gbagbo is allowed to return to the Ivory
Coast. Although Affi N'Guessan is more cooperative than Sangare, he is
considered to have significantly less support among the party people.
Long prison sentences for Gbagbo supporters
Simone Gbagbo is convicted (see October 2014) for undermining state security.
The prosecutor had pleaded for ten years in prison, but the penalty will be
double. Also, former Chief of the Republican Guard General Bruno Dogbo Blé and
former Navy Chief Vagba Faussignau are sentenced to 20 years in prison. 15 of
the 82 defendants are acquitted, the others are sentenced to prison. Among them
is FPI leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan, who is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
However, he is released because he has already been detained at that time. The
leader of the party's other large, and more hardened faction, Abdoudramane
Sangare, is sentenced to a longer prison sentence, five years. Simone Gbagbo
says she forgives the new rulers, because if she does not "the country will
Leadership struggles within PDCI strengthen Ouattara
The PDCI, which supported Ouattara in 2010, also suffers from internal
contradictions, especially between an older guard and a younger generation.
Political veterans like Charles Konan Banny and Amara Essy have shown their
interest in running for the party's presidential candidate, as well as Kouadio
Konan Bertin, who belongs to the younger phalanx. None of the candidates are
strong enough to challenge Ouattara who is running for RDR. Already the
President of the Crown Prince seems to have been appointed: Hamed Bakayoko,
today Minister of the Interior and Security. The president is having trouble
handling the military and implementing the necessary reform of the defense
forces. But the question is how he can do it without having problems with the
former rebel leader Soro, who today is the leader of the National Assembly. At
the same time, the economy is growing, partly due to good harvests of cocoa and
Split within Gbagbo's party
FPI does not appear to be able to agree on who will be the party's
presidential candidate in the October 2015 elections, in Laurent Gbagbo's
absence. Party leader Pascal Affi N'Guessan fails one party the risk is great
that FPI bursts.