14, October 2018
People in Ivory Coast have cast their ballots in municipal and regional elections, which came less than two years before the country’s presidential election in 2020.
Most of the polling stations opened at 08:00 (local and GMT) on Saturday and closed at 18:00.
Over six and a half million Ivorians took part in the elections to choose nearly 200 mayors and 31 heads of regional councils.
About 30,000 police, gendarmes, and soldiers were deployed across the West African country to ensure security on election day.
About 400 independent candidates had registered for the elections.
Tensions overshadowed the polls as the ruling RHDP coalition faced widespread divisions over who should be its candidate in the 2020 vote.
The two parties making up the ruling coalition — the RDR of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, and the historically-dominant PDCI of former president Henri Konan Bedie — fielded rival candidates in many regions in the Saturday elections.
Reports said scuffles and clashes took place in several localities as campaigning was carried out in a very tense atmosphere.
Two people were reportedly injured and a man was stabbed to death during clashes between rival political groups in the country’s south.
In other incidents, voting urns were smashed and torched in Bonoua, east of the commercial capital, Abidjan.
There are concerns an RHDP implosion would bring back violence and unrest ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.