Ivory Coast Political System

Political system

The constitution adopted in 2000 undermined the tensions that existed between the country’s northern and southern parts and between different peoples. It contained a contentious clause which meant that presidential candidates must not have had any nationality other than Ivorian and that both parents must be Ivorian citizens. The rule was to prevent opposition politician Alassane Ouattara from running for president. Nationalism and xenophobia play another important role in politics and helped to trigger the civil war in the early 2000s. After Ouattara won the 2010 presidential election, new unrest broke out, but in 2011 he was finally able to take power. In 2016 , he managed to push through a new constitution, despite opposition from the opposition.

Several constitutional changes are being implemented throughout the fall of 2016, after approval both in the National Assembly and in a referendum. It meant, among other things, that the disputed “nationality clause” was abolished (a presidential candidate must now only be able to show that they have an Ivorian parent, however, it is not allowed to have dual citizenship), a second chamber, the senate, was introduced and a new post as vice president. The age limit which states that the president must not be over 75 years was also removed. However, Ouattara’s attempt to enforce a constitutional reform has met with strong opposition from the opposition (see also Calendar). The draft bill was approved by the National Assembly in early October 2016, and in a referendum later that month.

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Ivory Coast for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

The president is head of state and commander-in-chief and is elected in general elections for a term of five years. They can be re-elected. The President appoints the Prime Minister responsible for him/her. The head of state also appoints other ministers in the government on the advice of the prime minister. Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly, which has 255 members elected by the people every five years.

The Senate has 99 members, of whom 66 are elected in indirect elections (by members of the National Assembly and regional and municipal assemblies) and 33 are directly elected by the President. The first election to the Senate was held in March 2018.

There is a special council (Conseil Constutionnel) to interpret constitutional issues. The Council’s decision cannot be appealed.

Since 1983, Yamoussoukro has been the formal capital, but almost all political institutions are still in Abidjan.

The country is divided into 31 regions, including 107 ministries, all governed by elected councils.

Political parties

Short for IV by Abbreviationfinder, Ivory Coast has free party formation, but a political party may not be based on ethnic, religious or geographical affiliation.

When parliamentary elections were held in December 2011, for the first time in eleven years, President Ouattara’s party, the Liberal Republican Assembly (Rassemblement des Républicains, RDR), became the largest. RDR was formed through an outbreak of PDCI (see below) in 1994. RDR’s electoral base is mainly located in the Muslim dominated northern Ivory Coast where Ouattara has its roots. He belongs to the mandate-speaking folk group diola. RDR is the dominant party at both national and local level.

Ivory Coast Democratic Party-Democratic African Collection (Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain, PDCI-RDA, usually just called PDCI) ruled the country from 1960 to 1999, until 1993 under the leadership of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. PDCI was the only allowed party until 1990. PDCI has its strongest support among the Akan people around Yamoussoukro and Bouaké. Since 2002, PDCI has been led by Henri Konan Bédié (President 1993-1999). RDR and PDCI now cooperate in the alliance Houphouetist meeting for democracy and peace (Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Democracy et la Paix, RHDP) which in 2016 gained its own majority in the National Assembly.

At a congress in July 2018, the RHDP was transformed into a formal political party, when RDR, UDPCI and some other parties merged. PDCI chose not to join. Party leader Bédié later announces that PDCI will take part in local and regional elections in the fall of the same year as an opposition party.

The Ivorian People’s Front (Front Populaire Ivoirien, FPI) was founded by Laurent Gbagbo in 1982 in opposition to the PDCI. The party had a socialist appearance at first but was increasingly developing in the nationalist direction. FPI has its main base among Gbagbo’s bété people in the western and central Ivory Coast, as well as in Abidjan. FPI boycotted the election in 2011 and has weakened significantly since Gbagbo was brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague the same year (see below). Several former CPI politicians were elected to the National Assembly in the elections in 2011. They later formed their own group within Parliament. FPI has for many years been led by Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who is considered to be a hard line against Ouattara’s rule. The party is also shaken by strong internal contradictions.

In 2011, a former FPI politician, Mamadou Coulibaly, formed a new party: Liberty and Democracy for the Republic (Liberté et Democracy for the Republic, Lider).

The rebel groups formed during the civil war were gathered in 2003 in the Alliance New Forces (Forces Nouvelles, United Nations) with former army commander as leader. The alliance consists of a larger group, the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI) and two smaller ones: the Patriotic Front of the Great West (MPIGO) and the Justice and Peace Movement (MJP). The new forces are not formally a party.

MPCI leader Guillaume Soro, a former student leader, was named Prime Minister after the peace agreement in 2007, a post he initially retained during Ouattara. In 2012, however, he was appointed President of the National Assembly. MPCI is one of the groups that is considered to have the strongest popular support. Gbagbo’s supporters have claimed that MPCI is RDR’s military branch. The rebel movement is not a united group and fierce power struggles have occurred.

President Gbagbo remained in power for a long time with the help of FPI-loyal militia and youth groups, called the Young Patriots (Les Jeunes Patriotes). Many of the militiamen were unemployed young men from Abidjan.