Former rebel leader Guillaume Soro released a statement via social media on Wednesday, November 4, calling on the military to oppose President Alassane Ouattara following his controversial victory in the country's recent presidential election. Soro, who as the leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) supported Ouattara during the 2010-11 civil war, stated his support for the National Transitional Council (NTC) formed by the two main opposition candidates in the October 31 election, Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Henri Konan Bédié, and condemned their house arrest by security forces on Tuesday, November 3, following the announcement of the parallel administration. Declaring Ouattara's third term in office illegal, Soro also appealed for members of Cote d'Ivoire's armed forces to disregard official orders and align themselves with the NTC in an effort to prevent the President from taking office.
It is currently unclear whether there has been any response from members of the military to Soro's comments, but mutinies by former rebel fighters partially integrated into the country's armed forces have occurred periodically in recent years, including in Abidjan, and there is a realistic possibility of unrest and instability in the medium term.
Ouattara had been expected to stand down at the end of his previous term, but the sudden death of his expected successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, on July 8 left the ruling RHDP coalition with no clear candidate going into the polls. However, Ouattara's decision to stand again was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups.
After opposition groups boycotted the election on October 31, Ouattara was confirmed as having won a third term on November 3 with 94.27 percent of the vote on a 53.9 percent turnout. However, the result was rejected by the two main opposition candidates, Pascal Affi N'Guessan and Henri Konan Bédié, who announced the formation of a joint National Transitional Council (NTC) to prepare for fresh elections.
Those in Cote d'Ivoire are advised to monitor developments and remain apprised of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public or on social media, and heed all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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