Speaker of the Côte d’Ivoire Parliament and former Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, committed to continuing national reconciliation efforts as the West African country prepares for presidential elections in October this year.
At a meeting with IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong in Geneva, Speaker Soro stressed that since 2011, progress had been made in re-building a country based on the rule of law and working institutions, such as parliament. However, he acknowledged that reconciliation and social cohesion have their own rhythm and that challenges remained. This included reconciling the need for justice with the rule of law and democracy.
Disputed presidential election results in 2010 led to months of conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, with humanitarian consequences for the large numbers of people displaced by the violence. The post-election violence resulted in former President Gbagbo being taken to The Hague to stand trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.
With support from IPU, the Ivorian National Assembly has been playing a key role in peace-building. Efforts include parliamentarians engaging with local populations in a bid to better understand their concerns and act upon them in parliament.
Outreach visits to Dabou and Duékoué in the south and west of the country have already been carried out since December 2014. Ivorian parliamentarians will continue their efforts in Sakassou, Divo and Bouna between 17-23 July.
The Ivorian Speaker of Parliament said the government was similarly committed to national reconciliation, citing the creation of a national Commission for Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation, the emergence of an opposition coalition and the more peaceful atmosphere in the lead-up to the elections as several examples. The 2015 elections, he said, represented an opportunity to strengthen democracy in his country.
IPU Secretary General Chungong emphasized the importance of national reconciliation to the Organization and its support for such initiatives. He also welcomed President Ouattara’s commitment to complying with the Constitution if re-elected, limiting any presidential mandate to two terms in office.
Wide-ranging discussions between IPU and the Ivorian delegation also included parliamentary engagement on sustainable development, the growing spread of terrorism in the region and increasing women’s representation in parliament. IPU has been working with the Ivorian Parliament since 2013 on gender equality initiatives.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.