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Ivory Coast: 2 rival presidents claim office

Country divided as both Gbagbo and Ouattara claim to be president.

In the heavily pro-Gbagbo neighborhood of Blokosso in Abidjan, marching bands snaked through the streets surrounded by revellers who sang his campaign songs.

Gbagbo fans associate him with the struggle to rid the country of its colonial-era master, France. He cut his teeth opposing independence leader Felix Houphouet-Boigny's policy of being best friends with France. Gbagbo even spent time in jail and years in exile.

Gbagbo came to power in 2000, after another election in which both sides claimed victory. But at that time his opponent was the leader of a military putsch who had taken power the year before and he took the presidency after calling on his supporters to take the streets — which they did with deadly results. One week and dozens of deaths later, Gbagbo was president. He had not faced the polls since then.

U.N. Special Representative Young-Jin Choi attempted to break the deadlock Friday by supporting Outtara's victory. He announced that even if the contested votes were thrown out, Ouattara would be the winner of the election.

But his declaration was also blacked out of the national media, and with international channels off the air, it didn't make it to the Ivorian people.

As night descended on the commercial capital of Abidjan, both sides were celebrating despite a nationwide curfew that was supposed to keep people off the streets.

Nearly a week after the election, Ivory Coast has two people who claim to be the legitimately elected president, and that spells trouble for the country's efforts to unite and consolidate its peace and stability.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101204/ivory-coast-president-election