Area Handbook for Ivory Coast

By T. D. Roberts; Donald M. Bouton et al. | Go to book overview

SECTION II. POLITICAL BACKGROUND

CHAPTER 12
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.

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Area Handbook for Ivory Coast
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Country Summary xi
  • Summary of Events: January 1963--December 1972 xv
  • Bibliography lvii
  • Preface to the First Edition lxv
  • Section I. Sociological Background 1
  • Chapter 1 General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2 Historical Setting 7
  • Chapter 3 Geography and Population 29
  • Chapter 4 Ethnic Groups and Languages 55
  • Chapter 5 Family 79
  • Chapter 6 Social Structure 95
  • Chapter 7 Education and Intellectual Expression 111
  • Chapter 8 Religion 131
  • Chapter 9 Artistic Expression 145
  • Chapter 10 Health and Welfare 155
  • Chapter 11 Social Values and Patterns of Living 169
  • Bibliography 179
  • Section II. Political Background 189
  • Chapter 12 Constitution and Government 189
  • Chapter 13 Political Dynamics 213
  • Chapter 14 Foreign Policy 231
  • Chapter 15 Information and Propaganda 251
  • Chapter 16 Attitudes and Reactions of the People 265
  • Bibliography 273
  • Section III. Economic Background 283
  • Chapter 17 Character and Structure of the Economy 283
  • Chapter 18 Agriculture 289
  • Chapter 19 Industry 309
  • Chapter 20 Labor 331
  • Chapter 21 Domestic and Foreign Trade 349
  • Chapter 22 Financial System 367
  • Bibliography 387
  • Section IV. National Security 395
  • Chapter 23 Public Order and Internal Security 395
  • Chapter 24 the Armed Forces 411
  • Bibliography 427
  • Glossary 431
  • Index 437
  • Published Area Handbooks 449
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