Ivory Coast votes on Sunday in legislative elections that President Alassane Ouattara hopes will strengthen his parliamentary majority to help keep the world's top cocoa producer in the economic fast lane. The weeklong election campaign was peaceful, but the authorities have ordered some 30,000 security forces into the streets in the wake of scattered incidents in recent months, including attacks on police posts. "Give me a strong majority to enable me to speed up the work that I have set as an objective in the four years to come," Ouattara said in a TV broadcast, playing up his economic achievements to win support among the 6.2 million eligible voters.The country was long the star economic performer in the region until hitting a decade of political strife but is now back on the rails.The International Monetary Fund has said the west African state will be the continent's fastest-growing economy this year.The presidential coalition -- named the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) in tribute to the country's founding president -- aims to take an absolute majority in a National Assembly comprised of 255 members of parliament.Most observers and even some in the opposition acknowledge the economic benefits of Ouattara's rule, but find his political record less convincing.National reconciliation after a decade of strife and violence at the last legislative polls in 2011 remains unfinished, the judiciary is under fire, and the opposition shunned a constitutional referendum in October.Ouattara, known to Ivorians by his initials "ADO", has enjoyed an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly because the opposition boycotted the 2011 elections in the wake of a bloody political crisis.Ouattara's predecessor Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a long-delayed presidential poll in November 2010, sparking conflict that claimed 3,000 lives before Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011.
"The politics of the empty chair hasn't brought any fruit," commented former prime minister Pascal Affi Nguessan. "The battle to come is to conquer the National Assembly."
Source: yahoo news