Ouattara said the new constitution would help overcome divisions in the country that had led to civil war in the past. While it overwhelming passed in a referendum, voter turnout was low. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday signed into law a new constitution that was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum last month, ushering the West African nation's Third Republic. "The wind of democracy is blowing again in Ivory Coast," Ouattara said after signing what he described as a social contract for generations to come."The promises of the Third Republic are the promises of peace, stability, equality and modernity." Voters approved the new constitution in an October 30 referendum with 93 percent support, but the results were undermined by lower voter turn out of 42 percent.
The opposition, which called for a boycott, complained that neither it nor civil society were invited to contribute to the document's drafting. They called the results "fake" and a "massive fraud," arguing the new constitution was designed to increase Ouattara's power. Ouattara was driving force behind the creation of the document, which he said would overcome years of civil strife by doing away with the nationalistic concept of "Ivorian-ness." One key provision of the new charter is that it removes a requirement that both parents of the president be citizens of Ivory Coast, instead requiring only one to be born in the country. It also creates a senate, a vice presidential post and a chamber of kings and traditional chiefs.