Without information, no reconciliation

Ivorians to vote on draft constitution on October 30

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A draft constitution in Ivory Coast, which changes contentious rules on presidential eligibility and establishes a senate, will be put to a referendum on October 30, the government announced Wednesday.

Official campaigns for and against the new basic law -- which President Alassane Ouattara has said will put an end to years of instability and conflict in the world's top cocoa producer -- will run from October 22 to 29.

Wednesday's announcement comes a day after parliament overwhelmingly approved the draft.

Current rules, which require both parents of presidential candidates to have been born in Ivory Coast, are widely seen as a trigger of the violent unrest that broke out five years ago.

In the past, Ouattara was barred from running for the top job because it was claimed he did not meet this criterion.

As well as calling for the creation of a second legislative chamber, the draft constitution also sets up the post of vice president, to be elected at the same time as the president and two-thirds of senate members.

The draft says the president will appoint a third of the senate, a provision the opposition is particularly unhappy with.

Ouattara told lawmakers last week that under the proposed constitution, the election calendar "will be known in advance by everyone, with fixed dates, so that there can no delays that could disturb our country's stability."

Under the draft, presidential terms are set at five years, renewable only once. Ouattara was elected to a second term in October 2015.

The Ivorian Popular Front, the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo, is fiercely opposed to the proposed new basic law, criticising the lack of consultation involved and warning it would worsen, not improve, security.

Gbagbo is now on trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes in connection with the deadly unrest that followed his refusal to concede his election to Ouattara in 2010.

Some 3,000 people were killed over five months following that poll.

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