ABIDJAN - The party of Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo will boycott elections in April after accusing the government of fixing the date for the polls without proper consultation, party officials said.
Gbagbo is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) accused of crimes against humanity committed during a 2011 civil war sparked by his refusal to accept the presidential election victory of rival Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo won 46 percent of votes in the 2010 runoff that sparked the brief armed conflict and still has many supporters in the world's largest cocoa producer.
Analysts said the boycott was a setback to attempts to draw Gbagbo's supporters back into the political process, potentially increasing the chance of instability and violence.
The government accuses pro-Gbagbo hardliners of launching armed raids on security installations and essential infrastructure in Ivory Coast.
"We've been in negotiations with the government on a number of points, principally the elections. But while these talks were underway, the government unilaterally set this date," the FPI's acting president Sylvain Miaka Ouretto said late on Thursday.