Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has swept to victory for a second term in a key vote aimed at drawing a line at years of violence and the 2011 civil war.
The electoral commission announced the results early Wednesday, saying that the incumbent president received nearly 84% of votes in the first round of the election held on Sunday.
Ouattara needed 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. His main challenger Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who leads former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), received only 9% of the ballots.
Ouattara’s victory came despite calls from some opposition candidates to boycott the election. The election turnout was put at 54%.
Three opposition candidates withdrew from the election. Former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny pulled out of the race on Friday, the last day of the election campaign, claiming that there were “grave irregularities” in the organization of the election.
Former Foreign Minister Amara Essy and former National Assembly President Mamadou Koulibaly also quit, alleging that the election was rigged to guarantee Ouattara’s victory.
The Sunday vote was the first since the country’s civil war following the 2010 presidential election, when Gbagbo refused to accept Ouattara’s victory. Some 3,000 people died in the violence and the conflict ended after Ouattara came to power in 2011.
The conflict followed a decade of turmoil in the world’s largest cocoa producer and divided the country between royalists in the south and rebels in the north.
Gbagbo was arrested in 2011 after troops stormed a bunker following a military assault on their residence in the capital, Abidjan. He will stand trial at the International Criminal Court next month for war crimes, which he has denied.