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Local Elections: the Breakthrough of Independents

The last local elections which were supposed to be a contest between the RDR and PDCI, the current governing coalition’s two main parties have seen the breakthrough of independent candidates who claimed more seats than the two political allies. The vote is seen as the success of independent candidates who have been engaged in effective neighborhood policy in the country’s region, despite their scant financial resources.

Local Elections: the Breakthrough of Independents
Independent candidates claimed 72 seats, compared to 65 for Ouattara's Rally of the Republicans (RDR) and 49 for the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) of former president Konan Bédié. The turnout for those races was 36.44 percent, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. But Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) who calls for a boycott says the turnout was around 20 percent.

Candidates sponsored by political parties cited reconciliation and youth employment as imminent issues they want to tackle, but the population does not trust political parties anymore. None of the promises that were made by politicians during the 2010 local elections, about the construction of health centers, markets and schools were ever kept. Broken political promises have led many electors to cast their votes to candidates who have been developing their neighborhood, rather than to be guided by party affiliation.

The RHDP, the current governing coalition, says it has been working to bring local economy back on tracks, but these efforts have yet to be translated into real and tangible benefits for the population at large.

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