Ivory Coast Table of Contents

By the end of 1946, the PDCI achieved its political monopoly by bargaining with potential contenders, rather than through open competition. In any event, the party received widespread support throughout the country. For example, an African could be elected in Côte d'Ivoire only with the endorsement of the PDCI.

The organization of the PDCI, based on that of the French Communist Party, was determined during the party's First Territorial Congress in October 1947. The Executive Committee presided over party cells located throughout the country. Although the PDCI became a direct party, operating on the principle of democratic centralism, it deviated from French Communist Party organization in that it was not a vanguard party with restricted membership. Instead, it became a mass organization whose members were required only to purchase a party card and pay annual dues.

Ideologically, the PDCI discouraged the transition to independence or even greater democracy on the pretext that intraparty disagreements prevented the party from implementing its democratic governing mechanisms. Instead, the PCDI's leadership gave Houphouët-Boigny almost autocratic control. In addition, sous-section (subsection at the cercle level) officials and others in positions of responsibility frequently nominated village committees in rural areas instead of allowing them to be elected. As a result, most rural party committees reflected the preexisting ethnic imbalance. At the national level, PDCI leaders had stipulated from the party's birth that party congresses would be held annually as part of the democratic process. In fact, by 1956 only two had been held: in 1947 and 1949. Consequently, those in party offices enjoyed long, uncontested tenures.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress