So, very soon it’s time for the tv debate between Gbagbo and Ouattara (called Ado) on Ivorian national television RTI.
A good site to watch it is Afrobox.net where the initial commercial of rti.ci is avoided as well as any paywalls.
The last month there has actually been tons of tv-debates with representatives of the Ivorian political parties on RTI and Africa24. Not only are they often very entertaining, but it’s good that they take place as they are pretty good examples of democratic dialogue and freedom of speech. In more authoritarian countries these type of debates don’t take place – you don’t see Gadaffi or Kim Jong Il debating with the opposition leader on national tv.
I think once you have had these types of debates and a relatively free round of election it will be difficult go move towards a one party system with limited freedom of speech and an oppressed opposition. There may be setbacks, but once the idea of democracy and basic human freedoms has taken root among people it has a tendency to stick.
Even pretty tough dictators have to pretend that they are in favour of democracy nowadays and create some sort of semblance of democratic institutions and processes. Then they often define their “branch” of democracy as something more akin to its opposite, but with time and courageous opposition politicians the sham democratic processes can become more and more like real democratic processes.
In the Ivory Coast in the 90s, it kind of looked like this process was taking place, but then the coup, the war and the whole Ivoirite business garbled it up a bit.
Speaking of the war by the way, the best tweet yesterday was from “Toussine” who kept track of how many times the war was mentioned by the participants in the tv-debate. The results were:
Konate Navigue: 33
Charles Ble Goude: 28
Kouadio Konan Bertin (KKB): 13
Patrick Zasso: 13
That makes 93 mentions in a 90 minutes debate which I’ll take as a benchmark. If the mentions per minute go down it is probably a good sign.
I heard from the owner of the apart-hotel a few posts ago, and the apart-hotel is practically all empty due to the election. Many expected guests have canceled their reservations along with their trips to the Ivory Coast.
These are the times when it’s better to let by month instead of per day. The question is just for how long it will last – back in 2002 it lasted for years. If I’m right in my quite gloomy predictions in the last post, it’s unlikely to go back to normal right after the elections.
The question is for how long the seemingly inevitable post-election violence will last and how severe it will be, and whether the elections will move the Ivory Coast towards stronger democracy, stronger rule of law and a growing economy or not.
I’m pretty optimistic over a 10-20 year horizon, but it’s just impossible to know for the next few years (or few weeks).
In IMF Survey Magazine there was recently an article about “Five Fundamental Changes Are Boosting Growth in Africa”, mentioning “a group of 17 emerging [African] countries [not including the Ivory Coast] that have broken away from the rest of the region and achieved steady economic growth, deepening democracy, stronger leadership, and falling poverty. ”
The five fundamental changes identified are:
1) The rise of democracy and improved governance.
2) Stronger economic policies. Meaning that inefficient state owned monopoly companies no longer control the economy, and that life’s gotten easier for the private sector.
3) The end of the debt crisis.
4) New technologies
5) A new generation of leaders.
A new generation of leaders isn’t looking to come to power anytime soon in the Ivory Coast, but for the rest there is reason for hope at least.
My predictions – or more accurately: estimated probabilities – for the second round:
65% Ouattara wins
35% Gbagbo wins
In the previous post I assumed Gbagbo would get at least 40% of Bedie’s first round votes in most of the country, and even with that assumption the numbers showed Ouattara would win. I am starting to think that reaching 40% might be difficult for Gbagbo with the support PDCI and traditional Baoule chiefs have been showing for Ouattara in the last few days. Continue reading “Prediction time again”→
I’ve been crunching the numbers from the first round to get some sort of baseline idea of how the second round will go:
10% of those who voted Bedie in the first round will abstain.
Everybody is talking politics in the Ivory Coast now, both camps try to get people to vote, and Ouattara’s campaign is doing its utmost to show that Bedie is not out of the race. I don’t think there will be much extra abstentions among Bedie voters, maybe even less than 10%.
In Gbagbo’s strongest regions Bedie voters will split 60% – 40% in favour of Gbagbo.
In FPI heartland in the the south and south-east where Ouattara got low scores I believe Gbagbo has a good chance of obtaining Bedie votes. For example ex-PDCI minister Emile Bombet originating from Gbagbo’s region Agneby recently called PDCI voters to vote for Gbagbo. I’m putting 60-40 in Agneby, Sud Comoe, Fromager, Sud Bandama and Lagunes except Abidjan.
In Abidjan and regions with no clear winner Bedie voters will split 60% – 40% in favour of Ouattara
Here I think Bedie-voters will follow Bedie’s advice to vote Ouattara more often than not. These regions are the Sassandras, 18 Montagnes, Marahoue, Moyen Cavally, Moyen Comoe, Zanzan and the votes from abroad.
In Bedie heartland in the center and Ouattara’s strongest regions in the north west, Bedie voters will vote 70%/80% for Ouattara
After seeing Ouattara and Bedie together in Yamossoukro meeting a great number of Boule chiefs, it really looks like they’ll get the Bedie voters to vote Ouattara. Im putting 80-20 in the Lacs region and the north west, and 70-30 in N’Zi Comoe where Gbagbo scored better than Ouattara.
Mabri and Anaky
They are part of the RHDP alliance and seem safe votes for Ouattara. Im assuming 5% extra abstentions compared to the first round and 100% for Ouattara.
5% more abstentions compared to the first turn and 50% – 50% split between Gbagbo and Ouattara.
No more abstentions than the first round. A small number switching sides as discussed earlier making a 99-1 split in favour of Gbagbo.
No more abstentions than the first round. 100% for Ouattara. I think the proportion of Ouattara voters voting only due to money or a wish to be on the winning side, is smaller than for Gbagbo. Hence there is unlikely to be a significant amount of voters switching from Ouattara to Gbagbo.
I think they will be less in the second round. There will be information campaigns, and a ballot with only two names is simpler than one with 14. I’ll estimate that 50% of invalid votes in the first round will be valid in the second round, ignore the regions with no clear second round leader based on estimates above, and set 100% for Ouattara in regions where he is likely to be far ahead, and 100% for Gbagbo in his strongest regions.
The participation might well be higher (or lower) in the second round, but I don’t have a clear idea of who might benefit from it (even including the Paris vote) , so I will not include this effect in the results.
Adding it all up Ouattara gets:
1,481,081 [His own first round votes]
656,102 [Bedie votes]
122,867 [Mabri and Anaky votes]
40,546 [Votes from other candidates]
22,835 [Gbagbo voters switching to Ouattara]
33,436 [Ex-invalid votes in Ouattara regions]
Sum: 2,356,876 or 51.9%
And Gbagbo gets:
1,733,699 [99% of his own first round votes]
392,877 [Bedie votes]
40,546 [Votes from other candidates]
17,149 [Ex-invalid votes in Gbagbo regions]
Sum: 2,184,241 or 48.1%
A tight race
This would point to a tight race. I have a feeling that if I’m right in the assumption that the Lacs region votes 80-20 or more for Ouattara, then Bedie voters in other regions will follow. If I change the assumptions to 70-30 for Ouattara in regions with no clear winner, and 50-50 in Gbagbo regions, then Ouattara wins with 53.4% vs 46.6%.
On the other hand, if I have over-estimated Bedie-voters willingness to vote for Ouattara and tilt voting assumptions 10 percentage points in favour of Gbagbo everywhere except in the north west (where there arent many Bedie-voters anyway), I get that Gbagbo wins by 50.4% vs 49.6%.
Here are points in favour of Gbagbo for the second round of the presidential elections in the Ivory Coast:
Voters in Abidjan are more independent minded and less likely to follow a village elder or party bigwig. This makes it more difficult for RHDP to make Bedie voters to choose Ouattara in the second round, and opens up for Gbagbo to make inroads.
The muslim northener issue
Among christians in the south, RHDP has a bit of a headwind in making them vote for Ouattara who is a muslim northener. I’m sure Gbagbo’s campaign will play on this, possibly also adding insinuations about Ouattara being an agent for foreign interests and not a real ivorian himself.
Especially in regions in the south and south-west where Gbagbo did well but Ouattara scored few votes, Gbagbo should have a good chance of picking up many Bedie-voters.
Gbagbo and FPI/LMP have more resources to put into the campaign than the RHDP as FPI/LMP have a stronger grip on the state and can use its resources. As per the Gbagbo: votes and… post resources are used not only for pure campaigning but also to buy votes, and I guess in this case to attempt to buy over local PDCI leaders.
The south is enough
Gbagbo doesn’t need to make inroads in the north ex-rebel held areas. Looking at the map, the bulk of the voters, 3.8M out of 4.6M, do not live in the ex-rebel held areas. Gbagbo just needs enough Bedie voters which he can get in the south and the center.
The more Bedie voters abstain, the easier the task becomes for Gbagbo.
Although there wasn’t much of it in the first round, I can’t rule out that there will not be more in the second round, and it will very likely be in favour of Gbagbo.
The 10 billion CFA Franc question
And then there is the issue of what Gbagbo and his party does if the CEI announces that Ouattara won. Leave power peacefully? Or cry fraud, say that foreigners are taking over the country, and call in the army and the youth militia to resist? There is a possibility that Gbagbo stays in power even if he loses the election.
Here are my thoughts about the second round election. I’ll start with points favouring Ouattara, and then I’ll take what’s favouring Gbagbo in the next post.
The sincerity of the support from Bedie
I don’t think the Bedie – Ouattara alliance is one of only convenience. Looking back several years, representatives of PDCI and RDR as well as pro-Bedie and pro-Ouattara newspapers have made very similar arguments and expressed very similar views of the events of the last 10 years. In the debates on Africa24 (still available online) ahead of the first round it often felt like RDR and PDCI representatives spoke with one voice.
The anti-incumbent second round effect
I think a not insignificant amount of Gbagbo votes in the first round were from ethnic groups not naturally close to Gbagbo who voted Gbagbo only because of money and gifts given to them and a desire to be on the winning side. It’s not certain they will vote for Gbagbo again in the second round. The incumbent advantage effect discussed in the Gbagbo: votes and funny faces post can weaken in a second round round of presidential elections. That’s how the Senegalese socialist party ended their 40 year streak in power when their candidate Abdou Diouf lost the second round presidential election in year 2000 to Abdoulaye Wade.
Diouf had obtained 41.3% in the first round vs Wade’s 30.1%, and Diouf had the support of Djibo Ka who got 7.1% in the first round. Nevertheless Wade won with 58.5% of the votes in the second round, with Diouf getting only 41,5%. Beyond the Mouride religious organisation supporting Wade, I think there were quite a few villages taking money from Diouf, but seeing where the tide was going and voting Wade.
In the Ivory Coast in the Bafing region for example, the small Mahouka ethnic group seem to have voted Gbagbo to a large extent, but in the second round where a vote for Gbagbo is just as much a vote against Ouattara they may switch.
The Baoule Center
Mathematically, it looks like who wins the Baoule populated center including the Lacs and N’zi Comoe regions, wins the elections. Here, it already looks like voters took money from Gbagbo but voted Bedie.
A few days ago a representative of Gbagbo’s party LMP called Baoule voters “ingrat” or ungrateful prompting the Gbagbo campaign to quickly make sure Gbagbo and Pascal Affi Nguessan are the only ones allowed to speak to national and international media for LMP going forward.
My take on this is that LMP probably still think Baoule voters in the center are ungrateful, but they badly need their votes and can’t say anything negative about them. With Bedie campaigning together with Ouattara in the center, Gbagbo seems to be in trouble here.
Albert Mabri Toikeusse
The fourth man in the first round Albert Mabri Toikeusse got 2.6% . Mabri Toikeusse votes were concentrated in the 18 Montagnes region where he got 86,951 votes, far ahead of Ouattara and Bedie. Mabri Toikeusse is a part of the RHDP alliance and his voters are – I believe – pretty solidly against Gbagbo, and can be counted in for Ouattara with more certainty than Bedie’s votes. With these votes Gbagbo’s first round advantage is down from 6 percentage points to a very shaky 3.5 percentage points.
Friction and corruption within FPI/LMP
The FPI of today isn’t the same FPI as in 1990. Whereas the latter was a small idealistic pro-democracy opposition party, I believe today’s FPI includes many high-level people that are active mainly because of money and power, and may jump ship if things aren’t looking up. Now, this issue affects RDR and PDCI as well, but these parties have gone through tough times, and those who are active today are more used to setbacks.
Also, and this is speculative third hand information, but I have heard that campaigners for Gbagbo have put money in their own pockets, instead of using it to campaign and, ahem, buy votes. Again, this probably happens in all parties to some extent, but I’d bet it happens a bit more in FPI. To win the second round Gbagbo really have to keep this type of problems under control.
There were more invalid votes in the pro-Ouattara north than elsewhere. With only two candidates on the ballot and an awareness of this problem, there should be fewer invalid votes in the second round which should favour Ouattara.
CEI, UN and electoral observers
The Ivorian Independent Election Commission (CEI), the UN and the international electoral observers seem to have done a pretty good job preventing irregularities in the first round. There were some problems, but there were on a small scale and did according to the UN not impact the total election result in a significant way. This is good for Ouattara as any irregularities are likely to be in favour of Gbagbo as he unlike Ouattara (except in the north) has sufficient control of the state apparatus to be able to attempt vote rigging.
The Paris votes
If the CEI gets its act together for the second round the Paris vote won’t have to be cancelled like in the first round. I think that would favour Ouattara as he obtained a good result among the Ivorian diaspora.
Time for a quick break in the reporting about the Ivorian elections. This was after all supposed to mainly be a business/entrepreneurship blog. In my defense though, the elections in the Ivory Coast have profound implications for anyone wanting to do business in that country.
Today, Wired magazine has an interview with one of Sweden’s most successful entrepreneurs; Niklas Zennström, founder of skype and many other IT-related ventures.
The interview contains a lot of wise words that I believe apply to anyone wanting to start a business, may it be in Voice over IP communications or real estate in West Africa.
I’ve seen a lot of – not unwarranted- talk of new information technology promoting democracy and freedom of speech. The initiative in the post below is just one small example of it. However, technology is often a double edged sword, and information technology has the downside of making it easier for rulers to control and monitor their people.
Today I saw a video with another example of the downside of information technology that I hadnt thought of before. It’s a representative of the PDCI party in the Zanzan region who claims that poor voters were given 5,000 CFA Francs ahead of voting, and then another 5,000 after voting if they could show a cellphone image of their ballot paper with a cross for Gbagbo.
I wonder if this is even considered as fraud by electoral observers by the way. In principle it isn’t very different from the unfortunatley not uncommon practice of giving gifts to a village in return for their votes as described in the Gbagbo: votes and funny faces post.
Today I saw that some of the more IT-knowledgeable Ivorians on twitter #civ2010 have started an initiative called “OBJECTIF PAIX POUR LE DEUXIEME TOUR”.
It’s still in an early stage (started today), but the idea is to use modern information technology keep track of election results and incidents in a neutral way, promote the message of peace and counter messages and rumors of hate and ethnic division.
to involve a large network of connected people, it’s open to anybody who shares the wish to have peaceful second round elections and aftermath
The cool thing about it is that it is a spontaneous initiative by Ivorians in the Ivory Coast and the diaspora, who mostly met on twitter talking about the first round of elections on #civ2010, and there is no big organisation behind.
One of the key initators is Diaby Mohamed, an Ivorian IT entrepreneur who today set up a planning and brainstorming chat session called OPERATION TEMPETE DU DESERT POUR LA PAIX (Operation desert storm for peace) and the facebook group OBJECTIF PAIX POUR LE SECOND TOUR which within an hour after creation had more than 100 members.
This is essentially a dream project for a western donor organisation, but the election is only two weeks away, and western donor organisations are just too bureaucratic to act that quickly.
Well, I think it’ll work just fine without any big organisation involved. And god knows it’s needed, I remember how media and Ivory Coast-related internet forums looked like in 2000-2005: full of hate on all sides.
Another thing with this initiative is that it is such a great media story. It’s got Africa, new technology, young idealistic talented people, and a country rising from war and ethnic divisions. I have a feeling that western media may, if it catches on, have more coverage of this initiative than the actual presidential election itself.
I’ve made change in the Ivory Coast links on the right hand side. Hudin is out, he isn’t writing about the Ivory Coast any longer – not a word about the elections, that’s unforgivable! Instead the always interesting journalist and author Venance Konan is in, as well as American writer Carol Spindel who has a blog following the elections in a village in northern Ivory Coast.
And talking about villages in northern Ivory Coast, I got an anecdote from a small village in the Mankono department in the Worodougou region where Ouattara got 87%. It’s told to me second hand and is unrelated to Spindel’s blog.
Ouattara 157, Bedie 0, Gbagbo 1
The people of the village are all of the ethnic group dioula, the same as Ouattara. When the election results for the village become known there are 100 and something votes for Outtara, zero for Bedie and one for Gbagbo. The village chief gets very upset and says they have a traitor among them who dared to vote Gbagbo. The village chief says he will find out who voted for Gbagbo and calls for a village meeting with griots (historians/poets/wandering musicians) and everything.
As far as I know they (fortunately) haven’t figured out who voted for Gbagbo. When the RDR headquarters in Abidjan hears about this, they – after having a bit of a laugh – call the village chief and try to tell him that it’s democracy, that secret ballot has to be respected and to stop trying to find the one Gbagbo voter. But the village chief has already made up his mind and isnt going to let anyone else interfere with his investigations and his village…
I got a new theory to explain why voters of ethnic groups not close to Gbagbo set tribal loyalties aside and voted Gbagbo to a non insignificant extent.
Back in 2001, in Senegal, I had the chance to tag along with the incumbent PDS party (incumbent for a year after 26 year in opposition) campaigning in the interior of the country for the parliamentary elections that year.
Essentially, it worked like this, you get to a village that has already prepared ahead for the arrival and people have dressed up in their best boubous. A sound system is set up and then dance shows and theatre are mixed with political speeches, and there are gazillions of children. The whole thing goes on late into the night and is really a great party. Occassionally I was given the microphone and said a few words in French knowing that 98% of the audience only spoke the local wolof language. Still got very loud cheers just going on stage though – think it was the “Wow, it’s a toubab” factor.
Then at 2-3 o’clock in the night the party representatives get down to business with the village elders and discuss quite matter of factly how many bags of rice, cellphones, coverage of medical costs etc, that the PDS party will give to the village in return for its votes.
So political campaigning in Africa is a lot of fun, but very expensive. And the incumbent has the big advantage of being able to use the resources of the state to do campaigning. From the village’s perspective it makes a lot of sense to vote for the incumbent, they are likely to get more stuff from the incumbent, and they want to be on the winning side, and that is most likely the incumbent side. Paved roads have a tendency to be built more to villages that voted for the incumbent than the opposition.
In the Ivory Coast, Gbagbo has a lot of these advantages.
UPDATE: What I’m trying to say is that the choice isn’t always between voting along ethnic lines or voting for issues/programmes/ideology, there is also a third option of selling your vote and aligning yourself/your village with the winner. The third option is especially common on the countryside (although parts of Abidjan essentially function as many villages next to each other), and is – I believe – used by all main candidates, but especially by candidates with more resources.
And speaking of Gbagbo, why is it that he almost always manages to look so funny when caught on camera? His face is just very expression-ful I guess.
At the time when only a few results from outside the Ivory Coast had come in, I read and heard tons of forecasts, more or less certain of how the first round would end up. It turned out that most of it wasn’t very accurate, many putting Ouattara ahead of Gbagbo.
There is one site however, that stands out publishing a very accurate forecast on Monday morning 1 Nov. I read it, but thought they were forecasting too many votes for Gbagbo.
The site is called ConnectionIvoirienne.net and I have no idea who is behind it. It calls itself “Premier Portail Internet d’Informations indépendantes en Côte d’Ivoire”.
A few thoughts on the results from the first few regions. Seems that people havent really taken in the message of Alpha Blondy’s hit song Multipartisme, and voted very much along ethnic lines.
That is maybe not very surprising given a high rate of illiteracy and a far too small middle class.
It’s tough creating a functioning democracy where issues and not ethnicity is at the key to voting preferences in a multiethnic country without a sizeable middle class. I think the votes from abroad is an indication of how it would look if the Ivory Coast had a large middle class.
Also, after a civil war with an ethnic component to it, ethnic voting is to be expected. Image the UN stepping in and stopping the war in Juguslavia in 1991, and then there being an election in a united Juguslavia. I wouldnt expect many Bosnian muslims to vote for Milosevic, or Serbs voting for a Croat etc.
One thought: In terms of suspense this election really has it all.
There is a lot at stake, and the outcome is uncertain on many different levels.
First the actual real voting by the people – the first election after a civil war. This could be the first time the Ivorian people can really express their preference without any barred candidates or one-party-state-system controlling everything.
That in itself in exciting, but then there is also the possibility of election rigging (which isnt exactly exciting, but adds to the uncertainty and suspense). In some semi-dictatorial african countries it’s pretty obvious that rigging will take place, but here it is unknown. At the moment I have to admit though, that I might have overestimated the risk of vote rigging. Not sure if I underestimated the CEI/UN/observers capacity to prevent it, or overestimated FPI’s willingness or sophistication in doing it.
Then the election is a test of the UN and the whole international community’s capacity to handle the election. So far they seem to be doing a great job, but it’s still an open question how the UN will handle a deteriorated situation with accusations of fraud and armed people from multiple camps in the streets.
Lessons from Poltava
Which brings me to the military aspect of it. I’m used to analysing Swedish elections and, well, the military aspect there is mostly about which block wants to make the biggest cuts in the defense budget. The last time the military was used to defend Sweden (or attack the neighbours) was in the Napoleonic wars. Thinking about it, there is actually a bit of a debate on whether to bring back our small troop contigency from Afghanistan or not.
Anyway, In the Ivory Coast I think I can count up to five or six distinct armed groups with different command and objectives:
The UN force
The French forces (admittedly with objectives close to those of the UN)
The Rebel forces (Yes, I know they are supposed to be integrated in the army or disarmed, but I have a feeling they can change that pretty quickly)
The Regular army and security forces
Pro Gbagbo militia and possibly anti-Gbagbo militia as well
Well, hopefully I won’t have to dig any deeper into the military aspects.
In fact, the Russians still use the expression “being beaten like a Swede in Poltava”. Though, at a visit in Belarus a few people told me – that while being proud of their history – they wish they’d lost so they would have been born in Sweden instead of Belarus.
Peaceful economic development 1 – Military glory 0