aouattara1_ISSOUF SANOGOAFP via Getty Images_Ivory coast election Issouf Sanogo/AFP via Getty Images

A Test for Ivory Coast’s Democracy

Public trust in politicians – essential to individual freedom and collective development – depends on free, fair, and transparent elections. Fortunately, the Ivorian government has worked hard to ensure that the parliamentary election on March 6 is a democratic success.

YAMOUSSOUKRO – When Europeans or Americans ask about Ivory Coast, we locals may sound a little bit like we are quoting Charles Dickens. We have, after all, lived through the best and the worst of times. This week’s parliamentary election will play a major role in determining which we will face in the coming years.

After independence from France in 1960, the best of times came to Ivory Coast. In a difficult regional environment, our country was a beacon of progress, stability, and prosperity, with surging exports fueling steady economic growth. In 1981, Ivory Coast’s annual per capita GNP was among the highest in Africa.

But, in the late 1980s, commodity prices collapsed, decimating Ivory Coast’s export income and ushering in the worst of times. The ensuing decades were marred by corruption, decay, and two bouts of civil war.

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