Ivory Coast’s top court on Monday cleared the path for President Alassane Ouattara to seek a contentious third term, as protests turned violent in several cities and fears grew of a repeat of the conflict that claimed 3,000 lives in the West African country a decade ago.
It cleared only four of the 44 candidates for the October 31 presidential election.
The other candidates cleared were former President Henri Konan Bédié from the historically dominant PDCI party, Gbagbo’s former prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, and Kouadio Konan Bertin, a dissident from Bédié’s party.
Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the 2010 election sparked the bloody conflict in the former French colony, formerly a beacon of stability and prosperity in the region.
Around 15 people have died in violence since Ouattara, 78, announced last month that he would run for a third term.
Although the constitution limits presidents to two terms, Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.
The president had previously committed to not running again, but he changed his mind after the sudden death of his anointed successor, prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, from a heart attack in July.