- Title: Ivory Coast president asks parliament to "turn page" with new constitution
- Date: 5th October 2016
- Summary: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (OCTOBER 5, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF PARLIAMENT VARIOUS OF FLAGS PRESIDENT ALASSANE OUATTARA AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT GUILLAUME SORO GO INTO PARLIAMENT INTERIOR OF PARLIAMENT OUATTARA GOING TO MAKE SPEECH CLOSE OF DEPUTIES LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALASSANE OUATTARA, IVORY COAST PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Today the time has come to define together what we really want to build as a nation. The time has come to decide on the legacy we want to leave behind for our children." MORE OF DEPUTIES LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALASSANE OUATTARA, IVORY COAST PRESIDENT, SAYING: "It is also the occasion to definitively turn the page on the successive crises our country has known, to write new pages in our history by proposing a new social pact." DEPUTIES LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALASSANE OUATTARA, IVORY COAST PRESIDENT, SAYING: ''This is why I want to address you, the representatives of the Ivorian people with the new constitutional project which carries this ideal. Here it is." (SHOWS FILE IN HAND) DEPUTIES SITTING OUATTARA SHAKING HANDS WITH SORO ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (OCTOBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) PASCAL AFFI N'GUESSAN, PRESIDENT OF OPPOSITION FPI (IVORIAN POPULAR FRONT) PARTY, WALKING AND SHAKING HANDS WITH JOURNALISTS AT HIS HEADQUARTERS VARIOUS OF N'GUESSAN TALKING TO JOURNALIST MORE OF N'GUESSAN TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASCAL AFFI N'GUESSAN, FPI PRESIDENT, SAYING, "Raising the age of eligibility means that two RHDP associates, namely the current head of state and the president of the PDCI-RDA, can present themselves as candidates in 2020 (elections) and perpetuate their dominance as head of state after securing the institutions." NEWSPAPER STAND IN THE STREET HEADLINE READING (French) "The parliamentary debate opens on Friday", "Tension rises over the new constitution" (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASCAL AFFI N'GUESSAN, FPI PRESIDENT, SAYING: "This constitution will deepen divisions; it is an ethnocratic constitution, because the system of president and vice president that has been chosen in fact perpetuates today's system whereby the coalition in power is made up of a party leader from the north and the head of the PDCI from the centre. It is this kind of system which has allowed this coalition to take power and which they are now trying to impose on Ivory Coast via this constitution and by having a president and a vice president." N'GUESSAN WALKING
- Embargoed: 20th October 2016 16:42
- Keywords: constitution Ouattara parliament National Assembly vice president
- Location: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- City: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- Country: Ivory Coast
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00152QCVGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Wednesday (October 5) called upon lawmakers to turn the page on years of political turmoil and civil war by approving a new draft constitution that the opposition criticised as a step backward for democracy.
Ouattara promised during his campaign for re-election last year to change the language in the constitution which states the parents of presidential candidates must both be natural-born Ivorians.
Ivorian nationality was at the heart of a crisis that began with a 1999 coup and included a 2002-2003 civil war that split the West African nation in two for eight years.
The draft charter submitted to parliament by Ouattara softens the contentious clause, which had been used by his opponents to bar him from elections and was a symbol of exclusion, particularly of northerners.
"This is the occasion to definitively turn the page on the successive crises our country has known, to write new pages in our history by proposing a new social pact," Ouattara told lawmakers at the National Assembly.
Ouattara finally won election in 2010, although his victory sparked a second brief war that killed more than 3,000 people after incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat.
Gbagbo is now standing trial before the International Criminal Court accused of crimes against humanity.
Parliament has until Oct. 15 to approve the text.
Other proposed revisions include the removal of an age limit of 75 for presidential candidates and new language that will make it easier to change the constitution in the future.
Opposition politicians and some civil society members have criticised the drafting process as lacking consensus and transparency.
Pascal Affi N'Guessan, the head of Gbagbo's FPI party, now the main opposition force, criticised the creation of the post of vice-president and a Senate, a third of whose members will be appointed by the president, among other changes.
He said they will allow Ouattara to institutionalise the political coalition between his RDR (Rally of the Republicans) and the PDCI (Democratic Party of Ivory Coast). The parties make up two of Ivory Coast's three dominant political blocs along with the FPI.
N'Guessan believes the constitution will allow one clan to take the state hostage.
If approved by the parliament the constitution will be put to a referendum on October 30.
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