The Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] on Tuesday suspended Ivory Coast from the 15-memebr region bloc and called on Laurent Gbagbo to step down for new president, Alassane Ouattara.
The decision to suspend Ivory Coast was taken following an emergency meeting of seven regional heads of state in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
“We have suspended Cote d’Ivoire from all decision making authorities of ECOWAS in line with article 45 of the protocol of democracy and good governance. They are two very fundamental decisions that were taken by the heads of state and government in their collective wisdom, and that we think it will send the message clearly to the people of Cote d’Ivoire,” Communications director for the West African regional bloc, Sonny Ugoh told VOA.
Both Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Quattara insist they won the presidential election in the french colonized country. Both had sworn themselves in as presidents over the weekend. ECOWAS and the international community recognises former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the November 28 election, after the electoral commission released results that gave poll victory to Quattara.
“They (ECOWAS leaders) decided to endorse the position of the U.N., which is accepting the results of the election or the outcome as declared by the electoral commission to the effect that Alassane Ouattara won the election. And, they are encouraging (Mr.) Gbagbo to allow him to exercise his mandate because that is the voice of the people,” Ugoh said following the ECOWAS meeting in Abuja.
The head of ECOWAS, Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck, said the regional bloc is not interested in government of national unity like the one in Kenya or Zimbabwe, adding "we no longer accept illegitimate government within the sub-region." Jonathan said the vote of Ivoriens must count.