At the October 2000 election, turnout only reached 40%. When, two days later, the count pointed to Socialist Laurent Gbagbo as victor with 51% of the vote, Guéi proclaimed himself president. The presidential guard took up the Supreme Electoral Commission where the counting was taking place and the chairman of it claimed that the count had been wrong and that Gbagbo’s party had been guilty of electoral fraud. It, in turn, called for resistance. The guards were filled by protesters, but neither military nor gendarmerie intervened. When the popular revolt could no longer be withheld, the Election Commission resumed, and this time with the result: Gbagbo 60%, Guéi 32%. At his inauguration as president, Gbagbo called for national unity and peace while Guéi went into exile in Benin.
The three main parties had originally fought together against Guéi, but when Gbagbo’s victory was a reality, Ouattara’s party demanded the election be made. The demand caused the hatred of the inhabitants of the northern part of the country to flare up. In the south, mosques were set on fire and 500 Muslims from the north were massacred by members of the CPI with support from military and gendarmerie. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Ivory Coast.
Ouattara and Gbagbo met to reach a common solution and called on the people to act peacefully, but the new president declined at the same time to run the election. The Gbagbo government’s first act was to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the massacre of the 500 young Muslims. At the same time, it set up a national reconciliation committee consisting of 29 representatives from various sectors of civil society.
The country had been internationally isolated for two years following Gué’s coup, and economic development was slightly more positive in 2001 than in previous years. GDP fell «only» 0.9% against 2.3% in 2000. At the same time, the country’s main export products cocoa, coffee and oil were affected by falling world market prices. But the country’s return to democracy improved international relations, and thus the hope for economic growth. In April 2002, the EU and the Paris Club discharged US $ 911 debt owed to the two creditors by the Ivory Coast. On the other hand, the government had to implement a comprehensive structural adjustment program – including the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the reduction of state subsidies and the introduction of free market formation.
2001 Civil War
On September 19, it came to armed fighting in Abidjan and other cities in the north of the country. The rebellion was led by the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI), and received support from a large portion of the population in the north – predominantly Muslims. It required 800 soldiers who had been discharged from the military reappointed, and since then demanded Gbagbo sacked and new elections made. During the military rebellion, French soldiers evacuated all foreigners from the city of Bouaké who had been taken as headquarters by the rebels. At the same time, thousands of civilians from the city were dispatched. During the uprising, Interior Minister Emile Boga Doudou and President Guéi were assassinated in Abidjan.
In October, ministers from the West African Common Market (ECOWAS) visited the country and the rebels took the opportunity to declare a ceasefire, but a renewed offensive by the government troops broke the ceasefire and the rebels took the capital of cocoa production, Daloa. After bloody fighting, they were expelled from Daloa and a new ceasefire was signed in the northern town of Bouaké. Gbagbo accepted the ceasefire and supported the establishment of a regional ceasefire monitoring force to prevent new clashes during subsequent negotiations.