The US has a reputation for its seemingly inexhaustible urge to lecture other nations around the world on how to practice democracy. And it appears to have found yet another opportunity to hone its skills in this field.
“The United States calls on Cote d’Ivoire leaders to show commitment to the democratic process and the rule of law,” the US Embassy in Abidjan said in a statement on Wednesday, just as the two presidential candidates in America seem to be preparing for a lengthy and fierce legal battle over vote counts in a highly contested presidential election.
The American diplomats, meanwhile, urged “all parties, groups and individuals” in Cote d’Ivoire to engage in “inclusive dialogue” and “heal national divisions” – a recommendation the US itself could find useful since tensions between the Democrat and Republican camps have been running high for quite some time as well.
U.S. Embassy Statement on Côte d’Ivoire’s Presidential Election pic.twitter.com/21UWgg1oTR
— U.S. Embassy Abidjan (@USEmbAbidjan) November 4, 2020
The US appears to be putting its money where its mouth is when it says that “grievances related to [the] presidential election” should be resolved through the “legal process.” At least that’s what President Donald Trump, and his Democratic Party contender, Joe Biden, apparently plan to do.
Trump’s campaign has already filed suits over ballot counting in several key states, while Biden’s camp issued a fundraising call for supporters, seeking to mount the “biggest and most comprehensive legal effort ever assembled” in preparation for a potentially weeks-long battle in the courts.
The presidential vote in Cote d’Ivoire indeed does not appear to be a paragon of the democratic process. Boycotted by the opposition, the election saw sporadic outbreaks of violence that involved clashes at the polling stations and left two to four people dead as well as dozens injured, according to various estimates.
The opposition did not recognize the victory claimed by the incumbent president, Alassane Ouattara, and announced plans to create a “transitional government” and organize a new vote. The nation, which went through a civil war following another contested election in 2010, could see bloodshed once again, since former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who was barred from running in the election, called on the army to “act” on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the US, the world’s ‘beacon of democracy’, where violent scuffles between rival demonstrators regularly occur across the country and the two political camps accuse each other of election manipulation even before all the votes are counted, does not appear to be a particularly good example to follow.
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