The European Parliament, – having regard to its previous resolutions on Côte d'Ivoire, – having regard to the provisions of the Electoral Code of Côte d’Ivoire, particularly Law 2001-303 and Ordinance 2008-133, particularly Article 64 thereof, – having regard to the interim report of the European Union electoral observation mission, – having regard to the communiqué of the Chairman of the African Union, the statement of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and the final communiqué of the 7 December ECOWAS Commission Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Côte d'Ivoire held in Abuja, Nigeria, – having regard to the Declaration of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly adopted on 3 December 2010 in Kinshasa, – having regard to the statements of HR/VP Catherine Ashton on the electoral process, and in particular those of 3 December 2010 on the Côte d’Ivoire election results and of 1 December 2010 on the second round of presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire, – having regard to the Statement of 3 December 2010 made by Mr Young Jin Choi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Côte d'Ivoire, on the certification of the results of the second round of the presidential election held on 28 November, – having regard to the UN Security Council Declaration of 8 December 2010, – having regard to the Conclusions on Côte d'Ivoire adopted by the EU Foreign Affairs Council at its 3058th meeting on 13 December 2010, – having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure, A. having regard to the holding of presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire and the serious political and institutional crisis which has engulfed the country in the aftermath of the second round of voting on 28 November 2010; whereas the electoral campaign for the second round of the elections was characterised by a climate of tension and violent acts inflicting injuries and causing several deaths, B. whereas according to independent observation reports, particularly by the UN and the European Union, the elections – the organisation of which cost USD 400 million – generally proceeded in a satisfactory manner, C. whereas Côte d’Ivoire's Independent Electoral Commission announced that Ouattara had won the elections, but the country's Constitutional Council overturned the result, claiming that fraud had occurred in some areas, and declared Gbagbo to be the winner, D. whereas the Constitutional Council has a duty to the people of Côte d’Ivoire to apply the law impartially and whereas the Constitution, Law 2001-303 and Article 64 of the Ordinance of 2008 assign to it the power only to annul the presidential elections but not to proclaim results different from those of the Independent Electoral Commission, E. whereas two UN resolutions adopted after the 2005 peace agreement assign to the United Nations responsibility for certifying the results, the first time that this has been done in Africa, F. whereas the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations has certified the quality of the Côte d'Ivoire electoral process and that the results released by the Independent Electoral Commission are representative of the will of the Ivorian citizens, and has declared Mr Ouattara to be the winner of the elections, G. whereas the UN Security Council has welcomed the announcement of provisional results by the Independent Electoral Commission of Côte d'Ivoire (CEI) and reiterated its readiness to take appropriate measures against those who obstruct the peace process, in particular the work of the CEI, as set out by Paragraph 6 of Resolution 1946(2010), H. whereas the sole source of democratic legitimacy is universal suffrage, the results of which have been certified by the UN, I. whereas, at its extraordinary summit of 7 December 2010, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called on Mr Gbagbo to ‘surrender power without delay’ and suspended Côte d'Ivoire ‘from all its activities until further notice’, J. whereas the President of the African Union (AU), Mr Bingu Wa Mutharika, took the view, as expressed in his official statement of 8 December 2010, that ‘Mr Gbagbo must respect the will of the people as expressed through the ballot box and surrender power peacefully in order to avoid another bloodbath in Africa’ and that the AU ‘stands side by side with ECOWAS and the international observers who certified that Mr Ouattara had won the elections’, K. having regard to the concern of economic stakeholders, as the present situation could impoverish the country and therefore its population, and the whole of West Africa, as Côte d’Ivoire accounts for 40% of the GDP of the WAEMU, L. whereas the outgoing President has a responsibility to allow a peaceful transition which will maintain civil peace, which is indispensable to the future of Côte d’Ivoire, by withdrawing, thus avoiding inflicting fresh sufferings on his people and on the region, 1. Considers that the sole source of democratic legitimacy is universal suffrage, the results of which have been certified by the UN, and calls therefore on Mr Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to Alassane Ouattara; 2. Urges all the political and armed forces in Côte d’Ivoire to respect the will of the people that was reflected by the results of the 28 November poll, as announced by the CEI and certified by the UNSG Special Representative; 3. Deplores the violent clashes that preceded the proclamation of the results of the second round of presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire and expresses its deepest solidarity with the victims and their families; regrets also the political obstruction and attempts to intimidate CEI members, which ultimately delayed the announcement of provisional results, thus hampering the due course of the democratic electoral process; 4. Deeply regrets the decision of the Constitutional Council of Côte d’Ivoire, all of whose members were appointed by the outgoing President, to alter the results announced by the Electoral Commission, in violation of the law which it was its task to enforce, and considers this decision to have been contrary to the desire expressed by the people of Côte d’Ivoire through the ballot box; 5. Stresses the importance of the decision by the AU to suspend Côte d'Ivoire ‘from all participation in the activities of the organisation until the democratically elected President, Alassane Ouattara, actually exercises power’; 6. Welcomes the declarations of various actors of the international community expressing support for the electoral process in Côte d'Ivoire and acknowledging Mr Ouattara as the legitimate winner of the poll; 7. Firmly supports the efforts of the AU and ECOWAS to prevent violence and ensure the recognition of the legitimate government; 8. Accords its full confidence to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General responsible for certifying the results; 9. Is deeply concerned by the current post-electoral political deadlock prevailing in the country, as well as by the reported acts of violence involving, in some instances, the Ivorian security forces; emphasises the need to closely monitor the situation prevailing in the country and the reported acts of violence; 10. Deplores the violence which has occurred and considers that it is a priority to protect the civilian population; calls on all parties concerned in Côte d’Ivoire to avoid any risk of an escalation of tension and to prevent any confrontation; calls therefore for action to restore the democratic functioning of institutions in the sole interest of the people of Côte d’Ivoire and the preservation of peace; 11. Welcomes all mediation efforts and calls on all political forces in Côte d'Ivoire to actively support a peaceful transition and thus avoid a division of the country; 12. Strongly condemns the acts of intimidation directed against the European Union's observers in Côte d'Ivoire that forced the mission to withdraw for security reasons; 13. Deplores the suspension of the nongovernmental media in Côte d’Ivoire; recalls that it is essential that all the people of Côte d’Ivoire should enjoy full access to plural and diverse information in the media, and calls on the Ivorian authorities to immediately restore equitable access to the State media; 14. Supports the EU decision to impose sanctions against Laurent Gbagbo and welcomes the EU Council decision to adopt targeted measures against those who are obstructing the process of peace and national reconciliation, and in particular those who are jeopardising the outcome of the electoral process; calls on HR/VP Catherine Ashton to present as soon as possible new initiatives to support the democratically elected authorities in Côte d'Ivoire; 15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, HR/VP Catherine Ashton, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General, the ONUCI, the institutions of the African Union, ECOWAS, the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly and the EU Member States.