AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Religious leaders appeal for calm on the eve of the disputed constitutional referendum

Friday, 28 October 2016 politics  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - "Read the text that you are asked to approve slowly and calmly. So you can express yourself with a clear conscience, because we are talking about the future of our Country", said His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, according to reports sent to Fides, on the eve of the referendum for the approval of the reform of the Constitution of Côte d'Ivoire, which will be held on October 30.
Addressing the politicians, Mgr. Kutwa says: "Dear actors of the political life of our Country, several brothers and sisters consider you guilty, wrongly or rightly, of being the cause of our problems and our divisions. I think when everyone asks questions about you, one should not be content to say that you are right and others are wrong. In any case, these questions are not a sign of weakness". Even Muslim leaders have launched appeals for calm in view of the consultation.
The text was approved by the Parliament of Côte d'Ivoire on 11 October, and it must be approved by citizens in a referendum before entering into force. The opposition, linked to former President Laurent Gbgabo, has called for a boycott of the referendum asking voters not to go to the polls.
Deputies took less than an hour to approve the 184 articles of the new constitutional text that had been developed by a committee of lawyers and not by a Constitutional Assembly.
Among the new changes there is the creation of the Senate (of which one third will be appointed by the President), the post of Vice President and the elimination of the referendum passage for the changes of eligibility rules of candidates in presidential elections. Also the "Ivorian" rule which stipulated that presidential candidates should have at least one parent of Ivorian nationality is abolished. Compulsory education and equality between men and women become constitutional requirements. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 28/10/2016)


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