Ivory Coast

Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire – African Democratic Rally

Published 5th December, 2011

The Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire — African Democratic Rally or PDCI-RDA was founded in 1946 as the local party of the pro-independence movement of French West Africa. The party’s founder was Félix Houphouët-Boigny who went on to become president until his death in 1993. The party was based upon the concept of a free enterprise system and can therefore de described as centre-right.

The party was the only party to contest the 1959 pre-independence elections and therefore won all 100 seats in the Ivorian parliament.

In 1960 what was, in effect, a one party state was created under Houphouët-Boigny and for the next 30 years this remained the same, although there were elections (1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985).

In 1990 President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, bowing to national and international pressure, endorsed the transition to multi-party elections. In the 1990 election the PDCI still went on to win 163 of the 175 seats in the parliament. This was, however, to start the decline in the fortunes of the party.

In 1993 Houphouët-Boigny died and a turf war developed between heir apparent and southern Christian Konan Bédié and Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara a northern Muslim. In 1994 Konan Bédié was elected the new PDCI Chairman and Ouattara left the party to form the Rally of Republicans (RPR).

In 1995 the party took 148 of the 175 seats, a further drop in support, although it held on to power. By 1999 civil war was in the air and a period of unrest led to PDCI rule ending in 1999 as President Konan Bédié was deposed in a military coup.

In the 2000/2001 elections the PDCI dropped even further when they won 94 of 225 seats. In May 2005 the PDCI and the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) agreed to form a coalition called the Rally of Houphouëtists.

Konan Bédié of the PDCI-RDA and Alassane Ouattara of the RDR agreed to allow each to stand in the 2010 presidential election and whichever one won the most votes would be supported by the other in a second round. Bédié came third in the first round and Ouattara went on to win the election, although under disputed circumstances.

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