Local elections set for Ivory Coast, Gbagbo supporters to sit out

April 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 20 (UPI) -- Members of former President Laurent Gbagbo's party say they will sit out when Ivory Coast voters go to the polls for this weekend's local elections.

With Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front boycotting Sunday's voting, Voice of America said the races will be among hundreds of candidates from the parties now in the governing coalition -- President Alassane Ouattara's Rally of the Republicans party and the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, led by former President Henri Konan Bedie.

The elections are the first in Ivory Coast since 2010, when a disputed presidential election precipitated a round of violence that has left at an estimated 3,000 people dead and brought the West African nation to the brink of civil war after Gbagbo refused to concede to Ouattara.

Kafana Kone, a former government minister seeking a municipal position, said the absence of the Ivorian Popular Front won't lessen the elections' legitimacy.

"Legitimacy doesn't come from the political actors. Legitimacy comes from the people," he said. "The fact that an actor doesn't participate, that doesn't mean that development stops."

A U.N. peacekeeping mission official said there were reports of acts of intimidation and other "regrettable incidents" in the run-up to the voting.

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