In response to violence at some 100 polling places in Côte d’Ivoire as citizens voted October 30 on controversial changes to the Constitution, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Freedom House condemns the violence in Côte d’Ivoire surrounding the referendum regarding constitutional amendments approved less than a month ago by the National Assembly,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Central, West and East Africa programs. “While the lack of transparency around the amendment process undermined trust, we urge opposition supporters to await the results peacefully.”
Opposition parties called for a boycott of the referendum, arguing that the amendments would strengthen the ruling coalition’s hold on power. The government violently broke up opposition protests and limited opponents’ access to media. The amendments would create a Senate and the position of vice president. They also would remove a presidential age limit of 75, and the requirement that both parents of presidential candidates be native-born Ivoirians.