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Ivory Coast presidential election heads to runoff

By Eric Agnero, For CNN
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo addresses supporters during a rally in Abidjan.
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo addresses supporters during a rally in Abidjan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Neither incumbent nor major challenger garnered 50 percent needed to win
  • Third place candidate throws support to Ouattara
  • Runoff set for November 21
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Abidjan, Ivory Coast (CNN) -- Ivory Coast voters will chose between incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-prime minister Alassane Ouattara in a presidential election runoff November 21.

After the first round of voting, Henri Konan Bedie, who came in third with 25 percent of the vote, and other minor opposition leaders called on their supporters to vote for Ouattara.

The nation's Constitutional Council announced the runoff Saturday after it validated the result of election's first round. Current President Gbagbo won 38.3 percent of the vote, and Ouattara took 32.08 percent, according to the results announced by the Independent Election Commission.

On paper, Ouattara and the opposition candidates polled more than the 50 percent needed for a victory in the second round. However, analysts say that it is not sure the opposition call to support Ouattara will be answered by voters.

Ivorians voted peacefully in the first round on October 31 with a turnout over 80 percent. The United Nations and most observers have expressed satisfaction about the organization of the election.

Elections had been expected since 2005, but they were postponed many times after the West African country plunged into instability when northern rebels took up arms earlier in the decade.