Monday, October 19, 2015

Immigration, Politics, and the Constitution in Cote d'Ivoire

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara talks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Abidjan October19, 2015.
REUTERS/LUC GNAGO
Cote d'Ivoire is holding a presidential election, and incumbent president Ouattara is expected to win his first (and likely only, given the Constitution and his age) re-election.

The Monkey Cage has a nice piece today with a convincing explanation for the importance of anti-immigrant politics over the past 20+ years in Cote d'Ivoire.

In fact, according to the 2000 Constitution, President Ouattara is not qualified to be president for a number of reasons, including his age and the origins of his parents. In 2004, the legislature changed the rules to enable him and other excluded to candidates to run for president (as part of the peace talks), but these changes were never voted on in a referendum, leading some of his opponents to continue declaring his candidacy invalid.

Ouattara, not surprisingly, considers the Constitution to be "outdated" and plans to push for constitutional reform if he is re-elected. Often African president seek to eliminate term limits when they are reforming the constitution, but Ouattara, who will be 78 at the end of a second term, says he has no plans to try for a third term.

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