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Template:Politics of Côte d'Ivoire Côte d'Ivoire is a republic, with a multiparty presidential regime established in 1960.


Political conditions

In a region whose political systems have otherwise been noted for lack of stability, Côte d'Ivoire has shown remarkable political stability since its independence from France in 1960. Much has changed recently, culminating in the Civil war in Côte d'Ivoire. Its relations with the United States are excellent. When many other countries in the region were undergoing repeated military coups, experimenting with Marxism, and developing ties with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, Côte d'Ivoire - under Félix Houphouët-Boigny, president from independence until his death in December 1993 - maintained a close political allegiance to the West. President Bédié is very familiar with the United States, having served as Côte d'Ivoire's first ambassador to this country.

Looking toward the country's future, the fundamental issue is whether its political system will maintain the stability which is the sine qua non for investor confidence and further economic development. Côte d'Ivoire evolved, with relatively little violence or dislocation, from a single-party state, beginning in 1990. Opposition parties, independent newspapers, and independent trade unions were made legal at that time. Since those major changes occurred, the country's pace of political change has been slow. Whether further democratic reform will take place, adequate to meet future challenges, is unknown. As is generally true in the region, the business environment is one in which personal contact and connections remain important, where rule of law does not prevail with assurance, and where the legislative and judicial branches of the government remain weak. The political system remains highly centralized with the president dominating both the ruling party and the legislature and judiciary. Côte d'Ivoire's efforts to break down central state control of the economy are undermined by the state's continued central control of the political system.

Côte d'Ivoire has a high population growth rate, a high crime rate (particularly in Abidjan), a high incidence of AIDS, a multiplicity of tribes, sporadic student unrest, a different rate of in-country development according to region, and a dichotomy of religion associated with region and tribe. These factors put stress on the political system and will become more of a problem if the economy-not quite as dependent today on cocoa and coffee as it was some years ago but still dependent - takes a plunge similar to that of the 1980s.

The political system in Côte d'Ivoire is president-dominated. The Prime Minister concentrates principally on coordinating and implementing economic policy. The key decisions - political, military, or economic - continue to be made by President Bédié, as they were made by President Houphouët-Boigny. However, political dialogue is much freer today than prior to 1990, especially due to the opposition press, which vocalizes its criticism of the regime. The Ivorian Constitution affords the legislature some independence, but it has not been widely exercised. Until 1990, all legislators were from the PDCI. After the most recent elections (1995-1996), the PDCI continues to hold 149 out of 175 seats. The PDCI's "core" region may be described as the terrain of the Baoule tribe in the country's center, home of both Houphouët-Boigny and Bédié; however, the PDCI is well-entrenched in all parts of Côte d'Ivoire.

The remaining 26 seats in the National Assembly are divided equally by the only two other parties of national scope-the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front) and RDR (Rally of Republicans). The oldest opposition party is the FPI, a moderate party which has a socialist coloration but which is more concerned with democratic reform than radical economic change; it is strongest in the terrain of its Bete tribe leader, Laurent Gbagbo. The non-ideological RDR was formed in September 1994 by former members of the PDCI's reformist wing who hoped that former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara would run and prevail in the 1995 presidential election (but who was disqualified by subsequent legislation requiring 5-year residency); it is strongest in the Muslim north.

The presidential election of October 1995 was boycotted by the FPI and RDR because of Ouattara's disqualification and the absence of an independent electoral commission (among other grievances). Their "active boycott" produced a certain amount of violence and hundreds of arrests (with a number of the arrestees not tried for 2-1/2 years). These grievances remain unaddressed, with the next round of elections coming in the year 2000.

Political data

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
conventional short form: Côte d'Ivoire
local long form: République de Côte d'Ivoire
local short form: Côte d'Ivoire
former: Ivory Coast

Data code: IV

Capital: Yamoussoukro
note: although Yamoussoukro has been the capital since 1983, Abidjan remains the administrative center; the US, like other countries, maintains its Embassy in Abidjan

Independence August 7, 1960 (from France)

National holiday Independence Day, August 7

Suffrage 18 years of age; universal

Administrative divisions

Main article: Départements of Côte d'Ivoire

For administrative purposes, Côte d'Ivoire is divided into 58 departments, each headed by a prefect appointed by the central government. There are 196 communes, each headed by an elected mayor, plus the city of Abidjan with ten mayors.

The 58 departments (départements, singular - département) are listed in the article Départements of Côte d'Ivoire.


3 November 1960; has been amended numerous times, last time July 1998

Legal system

Based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


Côte d'Ivoire's 1959 constitution provides for strong presidency within the framework of a separation of powers. The executive is personified in the president, elected for a five-year term. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces, may negotiate and ratify certain treaties, and may submit a bill to a national referendum or to the National Assembly. According to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly assumes the presidency in the event of a vacancy, and he completes the remainder of the deceased president's term. The cabinet is selected by and is responsible to the president. Changes are being proposed to some of these provisions, to extend term of office to 7 years, establish a senate, and make president of the senate interim successor to the president.

The unicameral National Assembly is composed of 175 members elected by direct universal suffrage for a 5-year term concurrently with the president. It passes on legislation typically introduced by the president although it also can introduce legislation.

The judicial system culminates in the Supreme Court. The High Court of Justice is competent to try government officials for major offenses.

Executive branch

Principal Government Officials

chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo (since October 26, 2000)
note - took power following a popular overthrow of the interim leader Gen. Robert Guéï who had claimed a dubious victory in presidential elections; Gen. Guéï himself had assumed power on 25 December 1999, following a military coup against the government of former President Henri Konan Bédié.

head of government:
Prime Minister Seydou Diarra (since January 25, 2003)
note - appointed as transitional Prime Minister by President Gbagbo as part of a French brokered peace plan.
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 October 26, 2000 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Laurent Gbagbo elected president; percent of vote - Laurent Gbagbo 59.4%, Robert Guéï 32.7%, Francis Wodie 5.7%, other 2.2%

Legislative branch

Unicameral National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale (225 seats; members are elected in single- and multi-district elections by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: elections last held 10 December 2000 with by-elections on 14 January 2001 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FPI 96, PDCI-RDA 94, RDR 5, PIT 4, other 2, independents 22, vacant 2
note: a Senate is scheduled to be created in the next full election in 2005

Judicial branch

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consists of four chambers: Judicial Chamber for criminal cases, Audit Chamber for financial cases, Constitutional Chamber for judicial review cases, and Administrative Chamber for civil cases; there is no legal limit to the number of members.

Political parties and leaders

Main article: List of political parties in Côte d'Ivoire

International organization participation


Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Côte d'Ivoire

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pascal Dago KOKORA
chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 797-0300
FAX: [1] (202) 462-9444

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Arlene RENDER
embassy: 5 Rue Jesse Owens, Abidjan
mailing address: B. P. 1712, Abidjan 01
telephone: [225] 20 21 09 79
FAX: [225] 20 22 32 59

Flag description

The flag of Côte d'Ivoire features three equal vertical bands of orange (hoist side), white, and green; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and has the colors reversed - green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is green (hoist side), white, and red; design was based on the flag of France.

See also

External links and references

Template:Côte d'Ivoirefr:Politique de la Côte d'Ivoire


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