"Côte d'Ivoire, a West African country of 21.5 million people that is nearly as large as New Mexico and is the world's leading cocoa producer, is emerging from a severe political crisis. It grew out of a disputed November 28, 2010 presidential runoff election between former president Laurent Gbagbo (baag-boh) and his opponent, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara (wahtah- rah), who both claimed electoral victory and formed opposing governments. Their rivalry erupted into a full-scale civil military conflict between their armed supporters in early March 2011, after three months of growing political volatility and violence. After the election, the United States, together with most governments around the world, had endorsed Ouattara as the legally elected president and pressed for Gbagbo to cede the presidency to him, in accordance with United Nations (U.N.)-certified run-off results announced by the Ivoirian Independent Electoral Commission. Key multilateral institutions that pushed for this end included the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), and the U.N. Security Council. A range of multilateral and bilateral measures were also pursued in order to pressure Gbagbo to step down and to restrict his government's access to financial resources and operational funding. These included sovereign credit restrictions and a range of multilateral and bilateral targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel-related, among other sanctions."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21989