From 1959 to 1990, the only political party in Côte d'Ivoire was the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (Parti Démocratique de la Côte d'Ivoire—PDCI), headed by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The PDCI developed from the Côte d'Ivoire section of the African Democratic Rally (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain), formed in 1946. In the 1959 elections, Houphouët-Boigny made it clear that no party that did not fully accept Côte d'Ivoire membership in the French Community would be tolerated. After the elections, the number of constituencies was reduced to four for the whole country, and later a single nationwide constituency was established, with a single list of candidates for the National Assembly. In 1980, members of the National Assembly were chosen in 147 separate districts; in 1985, they were chosen from 175 districts.
In May 1990, opposition parties were legalized and contested the 1990 elections. Among the two-dozen parties registered were the Ivoirian Popular Front (FPI), the Ivoirian Workers' Party (PIT), the Ivoirian Socialist Party (PSI), and the Ivoirian Human Rights League. In April 1994, some 19 parties formed a center-left opposition alliance, the Groupement pour la Solidarité (GPS). Also formed in 1994 was the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), a coalition of defectors from the PDCI. The 1995 legislative elections resulted in a National Assembly constituted as follows: PDCI, 146 seats; RDR, 14; and FPI, 9. The year 2000 marked the first time in almost 40 years that the PDCI was not in power. The 10 December 2000 and 14 January 2001 parliamentary elections were boycotted by the RDR. The FPI won 96 of 225 seats; the PDCI took 94; the RDR won 5, although it boycotted the elections; the PIT won 4; the Union of Democrats of Côte d'Ivoire (UDCI) took 1 seat; the Movement of Future Forces (MFA) won 1 seat; and independents secured 22 seats. Two seats were vacant.