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Independent State

On August 7, 1960, Ivory Coast gained independence from France. President became Felix Houphouët-Boigny, leader of the Parti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire/Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (PDCI-RDA). Houphouët-Boigny, who maintained good contacts with former motherland France, would continue to serve as president until his death in December 1993. His party PDCI-RDA acquired the same dominant position and remained the only permitted party until 1990.

The socio-economic development after independence, partly due to the large French influence, was considerable. For years Ivory Coast was doing well. The country had, after South Africa and Nigeria, the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. The economic prosperity of coastal Ivory Coast in particular acted as a magnet to the people of the north of the country and to surrounding countries, especially the Sahel people of Burkina Faso and Mali. These predominantly Muslim migrants gradually formed a greater pressure on the livelihoods of the coastal strip, where the population was mostly Christian. The elite of this southern Ivorian population traditionally held political power in the country. The problems of migration and ethnic-cultural-religious contrasts became increasingly important over the years and came to the surface especially when Ivory Coast's favorable economic development came to an end.

The 80s and 90s

That was during the 1980s. The turnaround in the country's prosperity was caused, among other things, by a fall in the world market prices of the main (agricultural) export products (primarily cocoa). The economic downturn and the country's debt situation not only led to tax measures and cuts in the public sector, but also had an impact on the political system. Criticism grew over the (untouchable) position of the president and the absence of a serious opposition. In response, a multi-party system was introduced in 1990.

The last years of Houphouët-Boigny's reign saw a tense political situation (student unrest and army mutiny). Although the position of president after Houphouët-Boigny's death in 1993 was initially claimed by the incumbent Prime Minister Alessane Dramane Ouattara, Houphouët-Boigny was constitutionally succeeded by the Speaker of Parliament, Henri Konan Bedié. Once president, Bédié appointed Daniel Kablan Duncan as prime minister. The economic adjustment program continued and began to bear fruit after the devaluation of the FrancCFA in January 1994.

In 1995, Bedié was re-elected President. His rival Ouattara had not stood for election. During Bédié's administration, the constitution regulated that residents of whom one or both parents do not have Ivorian nationality, Ivorians who have resided abroad for an extended period, and Ivorians who have renounced their nationality cannot run for president. Using this arrangement, Bédié et al. argued that Ouattara had not Ivorian, but Burkinabe nationality and therefore could not be considered for the highest office at all. This nationality issue was an expression of the sharpened domestic contradictions and introduced a period of serious political instability.

On December 24, 1999, for the first time since independence, the military seized power. This was because of financial mismanagement, corruption and the tense political situation surrounding the presidential election campaign (i.e. ivoirité; exclusion based on the nationality and identity of the main opposition candidate). The leader of the bloodless coup was Brigadier General Robert Guéï, former commander of the armed forces.

21th century

In October 2000, Laurent Gbagbo wins the presidential election; in December, his party wins the parliamentary election. There is great opposition between Gbagbo's Christians and the Muslims led by Ouattara. In 2003, after much fighting, it is decided to form a government that includes the rebels; Seydou Diarra is the consensus prime minister. At the end of 2003, unrest flared up again. In 2004 a UN peace mission was deployed. In 2005, planned elections were postponed. President Gbagbo passes a law allowing them to stay in power. In June 2008, new elections were to take place, but have since been postponed until November 2008 and later postponed again until 2009. In February 2010, voter registration is cancelled after days of violent protest.

Elections are finally held on November 28. Alassane Ouattara is elected president but incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refuses to step down. The organization of West African states Ecowas decides in early January on further steps against the political impasse in Ivory Coast. In April 2011, Gbagbo is imprisoned and transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in November 2011. In December there are parliamentary elections Gbagbo and his supporters win the elections. In November 2012, a warrant is also issued for Gbagbo's wife. December 2013, a row arises between Ghana and Ivory Coast. Ghana suspects Ivory Coast of secret agents searching for Gbagbo's supporters on Ghana's territory.

In October 2015, President Ouattara was re-elected President by a very large majority of votes (84%) for another five-year term. The candidate of the strongly divided opposition with the most votes, obtained only 9% of the votes. According to observers, this presidential election was conducted calmly and transparently.

In 2016, Ivory Cast also experienced attacks by militant Islamic groups. In 2017, there are several cases of police and army mutiny due to a disagreement over payment and bonuses. In December 2017, the government launches a plan to release funds to pay a few hundred soldiers to voluntarily leave the army. Quattra's re-election in 2020 was more controversial: the opposition boycotted the election in protest of what it called an unconstitutional third term.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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