Cote d'Ivoire's violent peace process

ABSTRACT: On 19 September 2002 a group of Ivorian soldiers with predominantly northern origins attempted to overthrow the regime of president Laurent Gbagbo. While the coup d‘état failed to remove the Gbagbo regime, by the end of September 2002, the insurgents firmly controlled the northern part of the country. While the adversaries signed a string of peace agreements since September 2002, it would take until October 2010 for new presidential elections—a key step in the process of restoring peace and stability—to be held. However, instead of bringing peace and stability, disagreement over the electoral results resulted in renewed large-scale fighting between forces loyal to the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and the rebel forces, which had pledged their loyalty to the newly elected president Alassane Ouattara. Ultimately, after 3 months of fighting, the Gbagbo regime was violently removed from power. While the Ivorian peace process may benefit from Gbagbo’s violent removal in the long run, the question remains why restoring peace and stability in Côte d’Ivoire has proved to be so difficult and ultimately “required” violence to achieve a political breakthrough. This will be the focus of the current paper.