Libya tensions sent fresh shockwaves across financial markets on Thursday, as equities fell, oil soared close to $120 and the dollar plunged to a record low against the safe-haven Swiss franc.
Europe’s main stock markets extended recent losses, with sentiment plagued by Libya where leader Moamer Kadhafi is clinging onto power but his opponents appear to be in control of swathes of the nation.
Police were out in force in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan today as supporters of the internationally recognised winner of the presidential election again said they would attempt to seize state institutions after a similar attempt resulted in up to 30 deaths yesterday.
The streets of the city were almost deserted, with shops shuttered as civil war threatened to reignite in the west African nation.
Supporters of the opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara pledged to march on government buildings and hold a cabinet meeting, Guillaume Soro, whom Ouattara named as his prime minister, said.
“It is sad that, in 2010 in our country, it’s not enough to win an election,” Soro added. “Even when you win this election, you are still obliged to confront tanks to govern. This is unacceptable.”
The incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and Ouattara both claimed victory in last month’s election. The international community said Ouattara won, but Gbagbo has refused to step down.
In the Adjame area of Abidjan – an Ouattara stronghold – Gbagbo’s soldiers patrolled and fired shots into the air. Tyres burned on some roads.
Troops loyal to Gbagbo and forces backing Ouattara engaged in a firefight in Abidjan yesterday, with clashes also occurring in the capital, Yamoussoukro, the northern town of Bouake and the central town of Tiebissou, Traore Drissa, a lawyer who runs the Abidjan-based Ivorian Movement for Human Rights, said.
Yesterday, Ouattara’s supporters tried to seize control of the state television building – heavily protected by Gbagbo’s troops – but did not get close to it.
Police and soldiers sealed off the surrounding streets with roadblocks and armoured personnel carriers.
Ouattara’s camp said 30 people died, while Gbagbo’s said 20 – including 10 police officers – had been killed.
Many observers had hoped the election would reunite the nation following a 2002-03 civil war that split it in two.
Ohoupa Sessegnon, a spokesman for Gbagbo’s party, accused Gbagbo’s opponents and France of being behind the violence, which he called “regretful”.
During a press conference in South Africa, he claimed French soldiers had infiltrated the ranks of Ivorian soldiers and posed as civilians during the protest to ensure it was violent. “They want to kill, so that the killing that takes place can be blamed on President Laurent Gbagbo,” he claimed.
Sessegnon, an Ivorian, chairs the South African-Ivorian chamber of commerce in South Africa and is the spokesman for the local chapter of Gbagbo’s party.
He said he called a news conference in Johannesburg to try to rally other Africans to oppose what he claimed was a French plot to topple Gbagbo in the former French colony. He said Gbabgo had angered the French by seeking trading partners other than France.
Sessegnon also accused France of lobbying other western powers to oppose Gbagbo, and rejected a call from Washington for Gbagbo to step down and leave the country.
Yesterday, a senior US official said the US and other nations had told Gbagbo to leave within days or face travel and financial sanctions.
The EU is giving him until the weekend to leave the presidency or face sanctions and possible prosecution by the international court.
The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, said all EU nations wanted Gbagbo to leave office. Sarkozy said Gbagbo was responsible for turning one of Africa’s most stable nations into one where innocent people could shot in the streets by his supporters.
Ivory Coast has been operating with two presidents and two governments since the disputed runoff election on 28 November.
Ouattara was declared the winner by the country’s electoral commission, and was recognised by the UN, the US, France and the African Union as having beaten Gbagbo. However, the constitutional council overturned the results after invalidating half a million votes from Ouattara strongholds the following day.
AFP – Ivory Coast voted on Sunday in a decisive presidential election aiming to end a decade of instability after a build-up marred by deadly violence.
Polls opened at 7:00 am (GMT) and were to close at 5:00 pm across the west African country where some 5.7 million voters are eligible to vote, choosing between President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-prime minister Alassane Ouattara.
AFP – Polls opened across Egypt on Sunday for a parliamentary election expected to strengthen the ruling party’s grip in the most populous Arab nation but marred by a crackdown on the Islamist opposition.
Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) and are due to close at 7:00 pm (1700 GMT), with around 41 million Egyptians eligible to vote. The first results are expected on Monday.
Egyptian security forces were on the alert after activists clashed with police at the end of a campaign overshadowed by violence and the arrests of more than 1,000 Islamists.
Initial indications showed a low turnout in the country of 80 million people, where polls are traditionally eyed with suspicion and where past elections have been marked by deadly clashes between police and protesters and battles between machete- and sword-wielding thugs hired by rival candidates.
At one polling station in central Cairo there was little sign of early interest in the election, with more journalists than voters present when polls opened.
In Alexandria, too, very few voters turned up in the first hour. Those who did were mostly supporters of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
“It’s important to vote,” said Assem Nureddin, a private company employee in Alexandria, proudly showing the ink on his finger to prove he had voted.
A street vendor in the city however said he had no interest in voting. “The MPs are each one for themselves. If I vote, what is it going to change?”
The NDP is widely expected to win a solid majority of the 508 elected seats and to make further gains when President Hosni Mubarak fills the 10 remaining seats with his appointees.
Not everyone planning to cast their ballots on Sunday, however, were NDP supporters.
“I’m going to vote for the (liberal opposition) Wafd party because their candidate is decent,” said a 30-year-old taxi driver in Cairo, who gave his name only as Mustafa. “I’d vote for any candidate who isn’t NDP.”
Much attention is focused on the Muslim Brotherhood, the only serious organised opposition, which is predicted to win far fewer seats than the fifth of parliament it secured in the last election in 2005.
Rights groups say the election has already been compromised by the arrests of opposition activists and restrictions on their candidates.
Eleven Brotherhood supporters were sentenced this week to two years in jail for handing out the group’s leaflets and campaigning.
Egypt bans using religious slogans in campaigns, a hallmark of the Islamist group.
“The elections are already fatally compromised,” said Tom Malinowski, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch.
“It is not going to be a fair and free election,” said Malinowski, part of a delegation from the New York-based rights group visiting Egypt for the election.
Rights groups say the election, which consistently return NDP-dominated parliaments, are routinely spoiled by fraud at the ballot box, a claim denied by the government, which has pledged to hold a fair vote.
Local civil society groups have complained that the authorities rejected requests for thousands of permits to monitor the vote and the count, while the electoral commission says it granted more than 6,000 permits.
Egypt does not allow foreign election observers.
The NDP is running about 800 candidates. Legal opposition parties, the majority of which have no representation in the outgoing parliament, are running about 450 candidates.
The election is being closely watched for an indication of how the government will conduct the far more important presidential election in 2011.
Mubarak, 82, has not yet said whether he will run in the next election. But the former air force chief’s eventual successor will most likely come from his ruling NDP or the military.
Toulouse Summer Festival
15 July / 30 August 2010
Toulouse d’été is celebrating its seventh sumeer time fesitval and aims to be even more innovative. Created at the initiative of the municipality, the season of music continues to be a development of the regional scene in and around Toulouse, both in the field of classical and contemporary music.
Its goal, to be a real snapshot of musical vitality and reveal to the public the quality of new and exceptional artists, with emphasis on young talent, whether classical artists and musicians from various scenes – song, jazz, new folk music, rock, hip-hop, etc.