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article imageI. Coast ruling coalition on top in local polls: election body

By Christophe KOFFI (AFP)     Oct 17, 2018 in World

The Ivory Coast's main party came out on top in regional and local polls held over the weekend, the election commission has announced, as the country's main political players have the 2020 presidential vote in their sights.

The RHDP coalition won 92 municipalities, the independents took 56, while the opposition Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI), a former RHDP ally, won 50, according to official figures released late Tuesday, which showed a low turnout for the polls.

The delay in issuing the results had sparked a protest near Abidjan the previous night, and police fired tear gas to break up crowds.

The RHDP also took the lion's share of the regional seats, with 18 against six for the PDCI.

RHDP spokesman Mamadou Toure hailed the results as confirming the strength of the coalition's support across the country.

The weekend polls nonetheless offered the PDCI some hope too that they could play a key role in 2020, after giving up its "kingmaker" position within the ruling coalition seek power on its own.

Saturday's elections were overshadowed by the rupture in the RHDP coalition, which has ruled Ivory Coast since 2010 and previously included both President Alassane Ouattara RDR party as well as the historically dominant PDCI.

The alliance broke down in the run-up to the polls over who should be its candidate in the presidential election in 2020.

While the RDR and other smaller parties remained in the RHDP coalition, the PDCI fielded its own candidates in many areas.

The official turnout figures were 36.2 percent for the municipal elections and 46.3 percent for the regionals, almost identical to the figures given for the corresponding elections in 2013.

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