CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT
On October 31, 1960, the National Assembly of the Ivory Coast adopted a constitution establishing an independent republic. The Constitution provides for a presidential system based on a degree of separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government and for an independent judiciary. The system is unitary and strongly centralized under the presidency.
The ruling political party in a sense forms a fourth branch of government because of the constitutional provision that all candidates for the Assembly sponsored by a given party are to be voted for en bloc on a single list, with a simple majority determining which list of candidates will be seated. This device ensures that all deputies in the Assembly will have arrived there under the auspices of a single political party. At the time of independence the ruling political party was the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast (Parti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire-- PDCI), the Ivory Coast branch of the African Democratic Rally (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain--RDA), both founded and led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, first President of the independent state.
Houphouët-Boigny and a few other PDCI members created and run the government--and, in effect, are the government. They were responsible for the drawing up and adoption of the constitution, which was largely taken (often verbatim) from the 1958 Constitution of the Fifth Republic of France.
The PDCI is not named in the Constitution, but its ascendancy is favored by the enormous powers granted to the President, who is in practice the leader of the party. Election provisions make it almost impossible for another party to win access to the National Assembly. The one-party nature of the state ensures party political control of all branches of government.
French influences predominate in the structure of political institutions, in formal laws and in bureaucratic practices. French education has powerfully molded the thinking of the country's leaders, who, in addition, received their political experience by sitting in the French Assembly and, in the case of Houphouët-Boigny, by being a member of successive French governments.