4 Dec 2010

Ivory Coast crisis deepens

8:40 pm on 4 December 2010

A political crisis in Ivory Coast is deepening, amid conflicting declarations over the outcome outcome of a presidential election last Sunday.

The Constitutional Council has overturned earlier poll results and declared President Laurent Gbagbo as the winner of the run-off.

Ivorian state media say Mr Gbagbo will be sworn in at a midday ceremony on Saturday.

On Thursday the Electoral Commission said opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara had defeated Mr Gbagbo.

The BBC reports the poll was intended to reunify the country after a civil war in 2002.

The two candidates represent the two sides of a north-south divide that still exists. The north is still controlled in part by the former rebels.

Constitutional Council chairman Paul Yao N'Dre, who is an ally of the president, says results have been annulled in seven northern regions.

He said on Friday that Mr Gbagbo had won more than 51% of the vote.

The head of the electoral commission had said Mr Gbagbo won 46% of ballots cast.

Mr Ouattara said on Friday he rejected the announcement.

The main rebel group, the New Forces, also said on Friday it recognised provisional results showing that Mr Ouattara won.

Also on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon endorsed the provisional declaration that Mr Ouattara was the winner.

Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer.