- Title: IVORY COAST: Ivory Coast's Ouattara launches campaign despite poll delay fears
- Date: 7th October 2008
- Summary: VARIOUS OF RDR SUPPORTERS WAITING OUTSIDE THE CONVENTION ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (French) RDR SUPPORTER, BAZOUMANA BAMBA, SAYING: "The time has come for change in Ivory Coast, for Ivory Coast to remodernise, with sound governance where competence, where young people can be employed. Only with Alassane Ouattara can we be able to have that. Ivorians are tired and need a man of experience now." VARIOUS OF RDR SUPPORTERS CHANTING AND DANCING
- Embargoed: 22nd October 2008 13:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1KXKCZH6ZBGS1QQBQ5C616363
- Story Text: Ivory Coast's opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, launches his campaign for November's presidential election before thousands of supporters.
The Ivory Coast's opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara launched his campaign on Saturday (October 04) for next month's presidential election.
But his candidacy is fraught with controversy. Ouattara's northern roots and candidacy for previous polls are at the heart of years of strife in the cocoa-growing state, which split into a rebel north and government south by a 2002-03 war.
Ouattara quit his job as a deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund in 1999 to contest the elections in 2000.
After a military coup, Ouattara was barred from standing in the 2000 poll because of doubts over his nationality.
Critics say Ouattara's ties with northern neighbour Burkina Faso, whose migrant workers supply much of the muscle for the cocoa sector, bar him from standing under a 2000 constitution.
None of that was putting Ouattra off on Saturday.
"It is for the love of Ivory Coast, that today I accept th nomination to be your presidential candidate," Ouattara told crowds of sign-waving supporters at a convention of his Rally of the Republicans (RDR) party in the Ivorian capital, Yamoussoukro.
"My main objective is to provide to all Ivorians good public services in key areas such as health, education and infrastructure,"
The election, originally due three years ago, is now scheduled for November 30 but preparations are getting further behind schedule, making another delay likely.
Still, Ouattara's campaign launch drew thousands of his supporters.
"The time has come for change in Ivory Coast, for Ivory Coast to remodernise, with a sound governance where competence, where young people can be employed. Only with Allassane Ouattara can we be able to have that.
Ivorians are tired and need a man of experience now,' said Bazoumana Bamba, an RDR supporter.
Ouattara will challenge President Laurent Gbagbo, the long-time socialist opposition leader elected amid violence in 2000.
Former President Henri Konan Bedie, who was ousted in 1999 when the country's first military coup ended nearly four decades of Democratic Party (PDCI) rule may also run.
Former president, the late Felix Houphouet-Boigny, appointed Ouattara as a technocrat prime minister in 1990.
Three years later Houphouet-Boigny died, triggering a bitter power struggle between Bedie and Ouattara that set-off years of instability in the former French colony.
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