World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking at a press conference late Tuesday, Youssouf Bakayoko, head of Ivory Coast’s electoral commission, announced, “The yes votes won with 93.42 percent of the vote, with a turnout of around 42.42 percent".
He said 6.58 percent or nearly 175,000 voters voted against a new constitution, while 2.48 million voted in favor. Ivory Coast has a population of over 22 million, according to 2015 World Bank figures.
Around 2.6 million of the nation’s 6.3 million registered voters flocked to the polls Sunday to take part in the referendum backed by Ouattara.
The opposition had criticized the vote, saying it was marred by fraud. They earlier said voter turnout across the country was between six and seven percent.
The draft constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on Oct. 11.
Bakayoko added that the final results will later be published by the country`s Constitutional Court.
If approved by the court, Ivory Coast's constitution of the Third Republic envisages the creation of a post of vice president, elected at the same time as the president. It also removes the upper age limit of 75 years for presidential candidates. Ouattara is 74.
The proposed reforms also envisage the creation of an upper house of parliament.
Ouattara had promised the enactment of a new constitution during the October 2015 presidential campaign ahead of winning a second term.
The new constitution, if approved, would remove a nationality clause which says presidential candidates must prove that both of their biological parents are Ivorians and have no other nationality. The clause mostly affects Ivorians in the northern part of the country who have parents in Burkina Faso or Mali.
Ivory Coast was plunged into a year of post-electoral violence in 2010 which led to the deaths of at least 3,000 civilians.
Former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept the election results, and his followers claimed that Ouattara is not truly Ivorian. Gbagbo, who ruled in 2000-2011, is currently being held by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, charged with crimes against humanity.