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laurent gbagbo

Ivory Coast is holding the first presidential election since the civil war ended in 2011.

The bitterly contested presidential election has been marred by prominent opposition candidates pulling out, citing widespread irregularities.

Ivory Coast’s incumbent President Alassane Ouattara is running for a second term in the world’s largest cocoa producer.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the conflict which ended with Alassane Ouattara coming to power in 2011.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The conflict broke out after former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept Alassane Ouattara’s victory in the 2010 election.

Laurent Gbagbo was subsequently arrested and is due to stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he denies war crimes charges.

Three of the 10 opposition candidates, including former PM Charles Konan Banny, have withdrawn from the election.

They allege that the process has been rigged to guarantee victory for Alassane Ouattara, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist.

Alassane Ouattara denies the charge, and has called on people to turn out in massive numbers.

Memories of the conflict are still fresh in people’s minds, especially in strongholds of Laurent Gbagbo, correspondents say.

Ivory Coast’s former First Lady Simone Gbagbo has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found responsible for the 2010 post-election tragedy.

Simone Gbagbo, 65, had been charged with undermining state security.

Her husband, Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo, is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

More than 3,000 people died in the violence that followed the presidential poll after ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat to Alassane Ouattara.

Simone and Laurent Gbagbo were arrested in 2011 after troops stormed a bunker where the pair had taken refuge in the main city, Abidjan.Ivory Coast's former First Lady Simone Gbagbo jailed

It was in the same city where Simone Gbagbo – once called the “Iron Lady” – faced trial. She was also accused of disturbing public order and organizing armed gangs.

The court unanimously sentenced her to 20 years, twice as long as the prosecutors had asked for.

Simone Gbagbo’s lawyer said they would appeal.

Laurent Gbagbo, is facing four charges at the ICC in The Hague, including murder, rape and persecution.

The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo too, but this was dismissed by the Ivorian government.

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