Ivory Coast leader sworn in despite vote fraud allegations

December 4, 2010 18:28
1 minute read.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — President Laurent Gbagbo was sworn in for a new term Saturday even though the United Nations and world leaders maintain his opponent won the disputed election, which was the West African nation's first since a civil war.

"These last few days have seen terrible cases of interference," Gbagbo said. "I call on my fellow countrymen so that our sovereignty is not damaged, do not call on others to interfere in our affairs."

The ceremony came only a day after one of Gbagbo's allies went on state television to overturn previously announced results that showed opposition leader Alassane Ouattara had won.

US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say Ouattara's victory must be acknowledged. The top UN official in Ivory Coast is also standing by the earlier results putting Ouattara ahead.

"The international community will hold those who act to thwart the democratic process and the will of the electorate accountable for their actions," Obama warned.

Ivory Coast's presidential election was meant to restore stability after a brief 2002-2003 civil war destroyed the economy of one of the most affluent countries in Africa. Instead, the election is casting a growing shadow with Gbagbo holding the inauguration ceremony even as international pressure. mounts.

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