Yesterday, a spokesman for Alassane Ouattara gave Laurent Gbagbo until midnight to relinquish the Presidency in Ivory Coast, or risk undescribed “other measures.” That didn’t move Gbagbo.
Ivory Coast’s incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has rejected a deadline set by his rival for him to stand down, saying the international community is trying to stage a coup against him.
Alassane Ouattara is widely recognised as the victor in elections last month.
His supporters said Mr Gbagbo would have “no difficulties” if he resigned before 0000 GMT on Friday.
But Mr Gbagbo said the country could face greater violence if he were to leave office.
In an address for the new year, Mr Gbagbo said the pressure for him to quit amounted to “an attempted coup d’etat carried out under the banner of the international community”.
Gbagbo did offer a recount, but maintained that violence would grow worse if he stepped down. He didn’t explain why. The UN claims that over 200 have died in post-election violence, most of them supporters of Ouattara. A senior UN official warned Ggagbo that he would be held responsible for human rights violations in Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, with two governments operating simultaneously and two Presidents sworn in, things like international debt payments have lapsed. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, actually.
Outtara’s Prime Minister says that the country is already in a state of civil war.
Commenter eblair had a good recap of the long-term context of this situation.
UPDATE: US officials released details of the inducements that they have tried to give Gbagbo to get him to leave power, including safe harbor in the US or Europe.