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Key dates to the current crisis:
August 1960: Former French colony is declared independent.
December 1993: Death of president Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
December1994: Adoption of a new electoral codel restricting eligibilty of presidential candidates.
October 1995: Election as president of Henri Konan Bédié, so-called 'natural heir' to Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
December 1999: Coup d'état during which General Robert Gueï takes power.
October 2000: Laurent Gbagbo elected president.
September 2002: Coup d'état attempt against Laurent Gbagbo. The rebels take over control of the mostly Muslim north of the country.
January 2003: Signature of the Marcoussis peace agreement, allowing rebels into government while Gbagbo retained presidency.
July 2003: Official end to the civil war.
2005: Presidential elections postponed until October 2010.
March 2007: Ouagadougou agreement for peace settlement programme.
November 2010: The postponed presidential elections are finally held. Ivorian electoral commission proclaims Alassane Ouattara the victor, with 54% of the vote (Laurent Gbagbo 46%). The Gbagbo-controlled Ivorian Constitutional Council claims a 51%-49% victory for Gbagbo, who refuses to stand down.