Ouattara Sworn In As Ivorian President

Alassane Ouattara has been sworn in as Ivory Coast's president in an inauguration ceremony attended by world leaders which many hope will herald a peaceful new chapter in the country's history.

Ouattara Sworn In As Ivorian President

Alassane Ouattara has been sworn in as Ivory Coast's president in an inauguration ceremony attended by world leaders which many hope will herald a peaceful new chapter in the country's history.

At least 100,000 people from across the region gathered in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital, for Saturday's ceremony, Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reported from the event, describing the atmosphere as "carnival-like".

Some 20 heads of state, ambassadors and international diplomats also attended, including Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president and UN chief Ban Ki Moon.

"For many people this is an opportunity to begin a new chapter in the history of the country" Al Jazeera's Ndege said.

"In 50 years of independence from France this country has known 30 years of dictatorship and 20 years of ongoing political crisis, meaning that it hasn't really been able to assert itself as a democracy."

The stately ceremony should have taken place six months ago after Ouattara was declared the winner of last year's presidential election.

But he was prevented from taking office by outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to cede power.

Gbagbo used the army to prevent Ouattara from leaving the hotel that had served as his campaign headquarters, forcing Ouattara to initially take the oath of office in a ceremony inside the hotel lobby attended only by his aides.

'Formidable' challenge

Following last year's flawed election, the country "saw total chaos and mayhem unfolding," Ndege said, adding that "the challenge ahead for Alassane Ouattara is formidable".

Gbago "did win 47 per cent of the vote during the presidential poll ... [and] he continues to enjoy support," Ndege said.

Ouattara Sworn In As Ivorian President

But she added: "There really is a hope that this ceremony will be the beginning of a new chapter for the Ivorian people ... The question really is whether Alassane Ouattara will - once the pomp and ceremony is over - be able to pull it off."

At least 3,000 people were killed and more than a million displaced in the post-election power struggle, which finally ended when Gbagbo was ousted through French-led military action in April.

He is now under house arrest in Ivory Coast's north and Ouattara wants him tried for human rights abuses during the conflict.

Ndege said opinion was divided in Ivory Coast, especially regarding the influence wielded by Paris on the local leadership.

"[Some feel that] France has had too much of a hand in putting Alassane Ouattara into power ... The feeling among some people is that Outtara is really France's puppet in Africa," Ndege said.

The UN's Ban earlier said that though the Ivorian crisis was over, the UN and the international community still had challenges to deal with.

"There are serious challenges like national reconciliation, restoration of peace, and humanitarian affairs as well as accountability questions and impunity issues," he said.

Aljazeera