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Ivory Coast sets presidential poll for 31 October

Official campaigning will start on 15 October and end on 29 October according to a decree adopted by the cabinet, confirming the timetable authorities have been trailing for months.

FILE: President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara. Picture: United Nations

ABIDJAN - The government of Ivory Coast said Wednesday that it had officially set the first round in upcoming presidential elections for 31 October, pressing ahead even after deadly protest clashes.

Official campaigning will start on 15 October and end on 29 October according to a decree adopted by the cabinet, confirming the timetable authorities have been trailing for months.

Last week, protests against incumbent Alassane Ouattara's announcement that he would run again despite already having served two terms descended into three days of violence, leaving six dead and around 100 injured.

The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but the 78-year-old - first elected in 2010 and returned in 2015 - and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.

Ouattara had planned to hand over to his prime minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, before he died of a heart attack in July.

Challengers to the incumbent include 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie for the main opposition party PDCI.

Two former ministers and Ouattara allies, ex-foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and ex-education minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri, are also running.

The outbreak of violence in the run-up to the vote has stirred memories of the political violence following 2010's election, in which around 3,000 people died.

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