WORLD -- May 5, 2011 at 6:25 PM ET
Ivory Coast Top Court Calls Ouattara President After Months of Resistance
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
The highest court in Ivory Coast reversed course Thursday and proclaimed Alassane Ouattara president after five months of fighting in the West African nation and a deepening humanitarian crisis.
Ouattara was elected president in November, but incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to give up power. Fighting between forces loyal to both men raged across the country and thousands of refugees fled to escape the violence.
Paul Yao N'Dre, head of the constitutional council, had backed Gbagbo until Thursday, when he made the announcement: "The constitutional council proclaims Alassane Ouattara president of the Republic of Ivory Coast," he said, according to the Associated Press. "The Constitutional Council invites the President Alassane Ouattara to take an oath in front of an official audience as soon as possible. All decisions contrary to this one are null and void."
Gbagbo was removed militarily in April and remains under house arrest as he awaits a trial for alleged crimes committed during the fighting.
The Ivorian military this week retook a naval base at Locodjoro, where pro-Gbagbo forces were based, said military spokesman Leon Alla Kouakou, reported Reuters.
"There are no more pockets of resistance, as such, but some militiamen and mercenaries are still there," he said.
The country is otherwise slowly returning to normal and expects to resume cocoa bean exports on Friday.