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I.Coast calls for calm over disputed local poll results

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Ivorian government on Wednesday condemned outbreaks of violence following local polls, urging calm in the west African nation still recovering from a bloody post-election conflict which ended in 2011.

Sporadic clashes have broken out, mostly in the economic capital Abidjan, between police and party supporters as well as rival party members as results from Sunday's election trickle in.

Police fired tear gas on Tuesday night to break up a violent protest by youths armed with machetes and clubs, who set tyres alight and barricaded a road after their mayoral candidate's loss was announced on public television, residents reported.

Similarly on Monday supporters of defeated candidates cried fraud and took to the streets. Several people have been injured in the clashes.

"We call on citizens to be calm and respect results of the ballot announced by the Independent Electoral Commission," deputy government spokeswomen, Affoussiata Bamba-Lamine told journalists.

"We condemn all acts of violence, whatever their nature," she said after a cabinet meeting.

The country's first local polls in more than a decade were seen as a test of its stabilisation since former president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to step down after losing a 2010 election led to conflict.

Around 3,000 people died in a six-month long standoff between Gbagbo and now President Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo is facing trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) boycotted the regional and municipal elections.

His party spokesman Richard Kodjo on Wednesday denounced the poll as a "mockery of an election littered with extreme violence" and marked by fraud in several areas.

Stating his party "would not recognise the results", he called on "democrats, progressive forces to unite and fight the liberticidal regime of Alassane Ouattara".

Partial results announced Wednesday showed the two parties in power, Ouattara's Rally of Republicans (RDR) and the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI) of former president Henri Konan Bedie, to be neck-and-neck with deeply entrenched independent candidates

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130424/icoast-calls-calm-over-disputed-local-poll-results