A group of 15 local and international NGOs in Ivory Coast is calling for the postponement of a new constitution referendum endorsed by President Alassane Ouattara. The referendum vote is planned for October this year.
The group proposed to the Ivorian president to postpone the vote to a later that will be suitable for what they termed as “real and full participation of all stakeholders.’‘
They want the vote be held in the first quarter of 2017.
The draft constitution not only provides for the creation of a Vice President’s post and the Senate, but also remove the infamous Article 35, which requires an eligible presidential candidate to be purely Ivorian.
The article which was amended in the year 2000 has been an item of debate for years, and it stipulates that a presidential candidate “must be born of an Ivorian father and mother.”
Since the 1930s, Ivory Coast has been the first destination for West African migrants — but under the Article 35, an estimated 30 percent of the country’s 14 million inhabitants would be considered non-Ivorians.
And in late June this year, twenty-three opposition parties adopted a joint statement rejecting the referendum vote on the draft constitution.