- Title: Ivory Coast opposition says Soro case is attempt to stifle dissent
- Date: 27th December 2019
- Summary: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (DECEMBER 27, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION SITTING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE POLITICIAN FROM THE COALITION FOR RECONCILIATION, DEMOCRACY AND PEACE (CRDP), GNONZIE OUATTARA, SITTING AT TABLE, WRITING OUATTARA WRITING OUATTARA LOOKING DOWN (SOUNDBITE) (French) POLITICIAN FROM THE COALITION FOR RECONCILIATION, DEMOCRACY AND PEACE (CRDP), GNONZIE OUATTARA, SAYING: "The phone recording shown by the public prosecutor has been described by this same prosecutor as being bad quality, to the surprise of TV viewers and journalists who had their doubts. These activities look like manoeuvres to stop any criticism from the opposition at a time when the government should start to prepare for fair, credible and transparent elections in 2020 by putting in place non-conflictual structures." CAMERAMAN FILMING DURING CONFERENCE OUATTARA SEEN ON SCREEN OF CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (French) POLITICIAN FROM THE COALITION FOR RECONCILIATION, DEMOCRACY AND PEACE (CRDP), GNONZIE OUATTARA, SAYING: "We are not envisaging he will be trailed in Ivory Coast or outside the country because for us he (Guillaume Soro) is guilty of nothing." VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF THE CRDP SITTING MEMBERS OF THE CRDP APPLAUDING SIGN READING (French): "PDCI-RDA (DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF COTE D'IVOIRE)" EXTERIOR OF HEADQUARTERS OF IVORY COAST DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDCI) AND RASSEMBLEMENT DEMOCRATIQUE AFRICAIN (RDA - AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY)
- Embargoed: 10th January 2020 20:53
- Keywords: Guillaume Soro Ivory Coast Ivory Coast opposition arrest coup dissent election politics warrant
- Location: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- City: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- Country: Ivory Coast
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BBR28UF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A group of Ivory Coast opposition parties accused state authorities on Friday (December 27) of trying to intimidate them before next year's presidential election, denouncing a new arrest warrant for presidential candidate Guillaume Soro.
A public prosecutor has said Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader in Ivory Coast, could face life in prison for allegedly plotting a coup. Soro is believed to be in Europe although his exact whereabouts are unclear, but more than 15 people close to him have been arrested as part of an investigation.
Speaking at a news conference, politician Gnonzie Ouattara from the Coalition for Reconciliation, Democracy and Peace (CRDP), an alliance of 21 opposition parties including Soro's, said that Soro was not guilty of anything.
Soro has denounced the investigation as politically motivated.
The case has increased tensions ahead of the October 2020 vote, which is regarded as a test of Ivory Coast's stability after two civil wars since the turn of the century.
President Alassane Ouattara won re-election in 2015 but has been unclear about whether he will seek a third term, deepening uncertainty about the vote in Francophone West Africa's largest economy, also the world's biggest cocoa producer.
Soro retains the loyalty of many ex-rebel commanders who hold senior positions in the army. He served for several years as speaker of the National Assembly but has since fallen out with Ouattara.
(Production: Cheick Hamed, Chistophe Van Der Perre, Louisa Naks)
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