The capital since 1983 is Yamoussoukro; however, Abidjan remains the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies in Abidjan, although some (including the United Kingdom) have closed their missions because of the continuing violence and attacks on Europeans. The population continues to suffer because of an ongoing civil war.
International human rights organizations have noted problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides and the re-emergence of child slavery among workers in cocoa production. Since the incident on 19 September 2002 (see History of Ivory Coast), a civil war broke out, and the north part of the country has been seized by the rebels, the New Forces (FN).
A new presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005. However, this new election could not be held on time due to delay in preparation and has been postponed to October 2006 after an agreement was reached amongst the rival parties. After a long delay, elections were finally held in 2010.
Ivory Coast's 1959 constitution provides for strong presidency within the framework of a separation of powers. The executive is personified in the president, elected for a five-year term. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces, may negotiate and ratify certain treaties, and may submit a bill to a national referendum or to the National Assembly.
According to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly assumes the presidency in the event of a vacancy, and he completes the remainder of the deceased president's term. The cabinet is selected by and is responsible to the president. Changes are being proposed to some of these provisions, to extend term of office to 7 years, establish a senate, and make president of the senate interim successor to the president.
Laurent Gbagbo took power following a popular overthrow of the interim leader Gen. Robert Guéï who had claimed a dubious victory in presidential elections; Gen. Guéï himself had assumed power on 25 December 1999, following a military coup against the government of former President Henri Konan Bédié. Gbagbo was elected president in 2000 in an election boycotted by many oppositional forces.
The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 October 2000. The prime minister is usually appointed by the president. The present prime minister is appointed by the international community (South African President Jacob Zuma, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Niger President Mamadu Tandja) as transitional Prime Minister following a resolution of the UN Security Council and a resolution of the African Union.
The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 225 members, elected for a five-year term in single-seat constituencies. It passes on legislation typically introduced by the president although it also can introduce legislation. Ivory Coast is a one party dominant state with the Ivorian People's Front in power.
The judicial system culminates in the Supreme Court of Ivory Coast. The High Court of Justice is competent to try government officials for major offenses. The Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consists of four chambers: Judicial Chamber for criminal cases, Audit Chamber for financial cases, Constitutional Chamber for judicial review cases, and Administrative Chamber for civil cases; there is no legal limit to the number of members.