Ivory Coast top court declares Ouattara president

Thu May 5, 2011 7:18pm GMT

By Ange Aboa and Tim Cocks

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's Constitutional Council ratified on Thursday the results of a presidential election showing that Alassane Ouattara won, reversing an earlier decision to reject them.

The court's initial rejection of electoral commission results from the November 2010 poll sparked a more than 4-month power struggle between Ouattara and incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo that killed thousands and displaced more than a million.

Constitutional Council President Paul Yao N'Dre said the top legal body now accepted Ouattara won the election.

"The Constitutional Council ... proclaims Alassane Ouattara President, takes note of decisions made by (him) and declares them all valid," N'Dre announced to reporters in Abidjan.

"The Constitutional Council invites the President Alassane Ouattara to take an oath in front of an official audience as soon as possible. All decisions contrary to this one are null and void," he added, referring to his previous proclamation of Gbagbo as winner.

N'Dre, a staunch Gbagbo ally, had rejected electoral commission results showing Ouattara won with an 8-point margin, upholding Gbagbo's complaint that the vote was unfair.

The court cancelled more than half a million votes in Ouattara strongholds to declare Gbagbo winner in December, prompting almost universal condemnation from world powers, African leaders and the United Nations.

The resulting bloody power struggle between them was only resolved when Ouattara's forces captured Gbagbo last month.   Continued...

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