Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara pushed back at the opposition’s attempt to force a dialogue by ordering its supporters to boycott the Oct. 31 vote.
“The dialogue has already taken place, so let’s go to the elections,” Ouattara told reporters in the central city of Bouaké, where he launched his campaign Friday.
His rivals, Henri Konan Bedie and Pascal Affi N’Guessan, asked their followers Thursday to boycott the vote in a bid to get the ruling party to address concerns over its legitimacy and the impartiality of the electoral commission.
The world’s top cocoa producer is headed for polls amid protests challenging Ouattara’s controversial third-term bid. The former International Monetary Fund executive is seeking to extend his 10-year tenure following the death earlier this year of his chosen successor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly.