YAMOUSSOUKRO (Reuters) – Ivory Coast inaugurated on Thursday its first senate, an higher home to the West African nation’s parliament that President Alassane Ouattara known as a “chamber of knowledge” however which the opposition says will tighten his grip on energy.
Its creation was a provision of a brand new structure enacted in 2016. Ivory Coast’s predominant opposition teams boycotted the referendum that accredited the constitution in addition to polls final month that elected 66 members to the 99-seat physique.
“The senate is put in. It is a crucial chamber for the rooting of democracy,” mentioned Ouattara, addressing the newly elected lawmakers bedecked in inexperienced, white and orange sashes – the colors of the Ivorian flag. “It’s a chamber of knowledge.”
The senate will likely be headed by Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio, a former prime minister and member of the Democratic Get together of Ivory Coast (PDCI), the principle coalition accomplice of Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans (RDR).
Ouattara is looking for to solidify the alliance as Ivory Coast – the world’s prime cocoa producer – heads in direction of presidential elections in 2020.
Ivory Coast has emerged as one among Africa’s fastest-growing economies within the wake of a decade-long political disaster that was capped by a quick 2011 civil struggle.
Whereas Ouattara, a former senior Worldwide Financial Fund official, has acquired reward for the revival, he faces rising criticism for not doing sufficient to heal the deep divisions left over from the disaster years.
The 2016 structure was seen by many analysts and diplomats as a missed alternative to foster constructive political dialogue between Ouattara’s backers and supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo.
Gbagbo is at present on trial earlier than the Worldwide Prison Courtroom accused of crimes towards humanity dedicated in the course of the 2011 battle.
Ruling coalition members say that the senate will enhance checks and balances throughout the authorities. However opposition members say the physique – a 3rd of whose seats will likely be appointed by the manager – is little greater than an influence seize.
The ruling coalition already dominates the present Nationwide Meeting, which can develop into the decrease home of parliament.
“That is the worst of democratic retreats. It’s abhorrent,” Boubakar Kone, a spokesman for one of many two rival factions of Gbagbo’s Ivorian Well-liked Entrance (FPI) celebration, informed Reuters.
Ouattara has but to call the ultimate 33 senators, although it’s anticipated the checklist will embrace some opposition figures.
Extra reporting by Joe Bavier; Enhancing by Sofia Christensen and Hugh Lawson