The ruling Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) coalition intends to hold a rally in the capital Abidjan on Saturday, October 17, to mark the beginning of the electoral campaign. Reportedly, the rally is set to take place from 06:00 (local time) in the Yopougon district at Place Ficgayo. Although the event is likely to be well-policed, clashes involving participants and counter-demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
Associated demonstrations and rallies are likely to continue in the lead up to the election. Localized disruptions should be anticipated in the vicinity of demonstrations. Events and demonstrations will likely be tightly policed with the potential to escalate into clashes.
President Alassane Ouattara announced on August 7 that he would be standing for a third term in presidential elections scheduled to be held on October 31. The president had been expected to stand down at the end of his current term, but the sudden death of his would-be 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 has been opposed by multiple opposition and civil society groups. Unrest linked to the issue has resulted in several fatalities and dozens of arrests in recent weeks.
On Thursday, October 15, the Côte d'Ivoire political opposition called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election. The opposition has also called for civil disobedience during the course of the campaigning season, which started on Thursday. Observers state that there is a risk of the election descending into chaos and violence, resembling the 2010-2011 election where 3000 people died and half a million were displaced.
Those in Abidjan, and in Côte d'Ivoire more generally, 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 and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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