Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo Defiant Amid Ouster Pressure

Laurent-GbagboIvory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has warned of a civil war if other nations intervene in the ongoing political crisis in the West African country.

Defying calls for him to relinquish the presidency in favor of rival Alassane Ouattara, Gbagbo said forcing him out could worsen the situation in Ivory Coast. A spokesman for Gbagbo’s administration, Ahoua Don Mello, said millions of immigrant workers could be affected by any attempt by outsiders to unseat the 65-year-old former history teacher. “All these countries have citizens in Ivory Coast, and they know if they attack Ivory Coast from the exterior it would become an interior civil war,” Mello said referring to members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which recognize Ouattara as the rightful winner in the presidential election held on November 28.

ECOWAS leaders are expected to visit Ivory Coast on Tuesday in a bid to convince Gbagbo to give up the post he has held since October 2000. Gbagbo insists that he won the presidency fare and square, but the international community recognizes Ouattara, who won the elections 54 percent to 45.9 percent based on records of the Independent Electoral Commission.