The constitution adopted in 2000 undermined
the tensions that existed between the country's northern
and southern parts and between different peoples. It
contained a contentious clause which meant that
presidential candidates must not have had any
nationality other than Ivorian and that both parents
must be Ivorian citizens. The rule was to prevent
opposition politician Alassane Ouattara from running for
president. Nationalism and xenophobia play another
important role in politics and helped to trigger the
civil war in the early 2000s. After Ouattara won the
2010 presidential election, new unrest broke out, but in
2011 he was finally able to take power. In 2016 , he
managed to push through a new constitution, despite
opposition from the opposition.
Several constitutional changes are being implemented
throughout the fall of 2016, after approval both in the
National Assembly and in a referendum. It meant, among
other things, that the disputed "nationality clause" was
abolished (a presidential candidate must now only be
able to show that they have an Ivorian parent, however,
it is not allowed to have dual citizenship), a second
chamber, the senate, was introduced and a new post as
vice president. The age limit which states that the
president must not be over 75 years was also removed.
However, Ouattara's attempt to enforce a constitutional
reform has met with strong opposition from the
opposition (see also Calendar). The draft bill was
approved by the National Assembly in early October 2016,
and in a referendum later that month.
Total population and chart of Ivory Coast for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The president is head of state and commander-in-chief
and is elected in general elections for a term of five
years. They can be re-elected. The President appoints
the Prime Minister responsible for him/her. The head of
state also appoints other ministers in the government on
the advice of the prime minister. Legislative power is
exercised by the National Assembly,
which has 255 members elected by the people every five
The Senate has 99 members, of whom
66 are elected in indirect elections (by members of the
National Assembly and regional and municipal assemblies)
and 33 are directly elected by the President. The first
election to the Senate was held in March 2018.
There is a special council (Conseil
Constutionnel) to interpret constitutional
issues. The Council's decision cannot be appealed.
Since 1983, Yamoussoukro has been the formal capital,
but almost all political institutions are still in
The country is divided into 31 regions, including 107
ministries, all governed by elected councils.
Ivory Coast has free party formation, but a political
party may not be based on ethnic, religious or
When parliamentary elections were held in December
2011, for the first time in eleven years, President
Ouattara's party, the Liberal Republican
Assembly (Rassemblement des Républicains, RDR),
became the largest. RDR was formed through an outbreak
of PDCI (see below) in 1994. RDR's electoral base is
mainly located in the Muslim dominated northern Ivory
Coast where Ouattara has its roots. He belongs to the
mandate-speaking folk group diola. RDR is the dominant
party at both national and local level.
Ivory Coast Democratic Party-Democratic
African Collection (Democratique de Cote
d'Ivoire-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain, PDCI-RDA,
usually just called PDCI) ruled the country from 1960 to
1999, until 1993 under the leadership of President Félix
Houphouët-Boigny. PDCI was the only allowed party until
1990. PDCI has its strongest support among the Akan
people around Yamoussoukro and Bouaké. Since 2002, PDCI
has been led by Henri Konan Bédié (President 1993-1999).
RDR and PDCI now cooperate in the alliance
Houphouetist meeting for democracy and peace (Rassemblement
des Houphouëtistes pour la Democracy et la Paix, RHDP)
which in 2016 gained its own majority in the National
At a congress in July 2018, the RHDP was transformed
into a formal political party, when RDR, UDPCI and some
other parties merged. PDCI chose not to join. Party
leader Bédié later announces that PDCI will take part in
local and regional elections in the fall of the same
year as an opposition party.
The Ivorian People's Front (Front
Populaire Ivoirien, FPI) was founded by Laurent Gbagbo
in 1982 in opposition to the PDCI. The party had a
socialist appearance at first but was increasingly
developing in the nationalist direction. FPI has its
main base among Gbagbo's bété people in the western and
central Ivory Coast, as well as in Abidjan. FPI
boycotted the election in 2011 and has weakened
significantly since Gbagbo was brought to the
International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague
the same year (see below). Several former CPI
politicians were elected to the National Assembly in the
elections in 2011. They later formed their own group
within Parliament. FPI has for many years been led by
Pascal Affi N'Guessan, who is considered to be a hard
line against Ouattara's rule. The party is also shaken
by strong internal contradictions.
In 2011, a former FPI politician, Mamadou Coulibaly,
formed a new party: Liberty and Democracy for
the Republic (Liberté et Democracy for
the Republic, Lider).
The rebel groups formed during the civil war were
gathered in 2003 in the Alliance New Forces
(Forces Nouvelles, United Nations) with former army
commander as leader. The alliance consists of a larger
group, the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement
(MPCI) and two smaller ones: the Patriotic Front
of the Great West (MPIGO) and the
Justice and Peace Movement (MJP). The new
forces are not formally a party.
MPCI leader Guillaume Soro, a former student leader,
was named Prime Minister after the peace agreement in
2007, a post he initially retained during Ouattara. In
2012, however, he was appointed President of the
National Assembly. MPCI is one of the groups that is
considered to have the strongest popular support.
Gbagbo's supporters have claimed that MPCI is RDR's
military branch. The rebel movement is not a united
group and fierce power struggles have occurred.
President Gbagbo remained in power for a long time
with the help of FPI-loyal militia and youth groups,
called the Young Patriots (Les Jeunes
Patriotes). Many of the militiamen were unemployed young
men from Abidjan.