ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo went ahead and named cabinet members Tuesday, appointing a man who has faced U.N. and U.S. sanctions, in further defiance of international calls to concede the presidential election.
Uncertainty over what will happen next led hundreds to flee the West African country, and the United Nations began evacuating its 500 staffers. The country's electoral commission, backed by the United Nations, has said that Gbagbo's opponent, Alassane Ouattara, won the vote.
In response to Gbagbo's defiance, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, suspended the country from membership Tuesday. It called on Gbagbo to "yield power without delay."
Gbagbo tapped Charles Ble Goude as his minister of youth, professional education, and employment. Goude faced sanctions in 2006 and has been accused of making public statements advocating violence against foreigners and U.N. installations.
Speaking to reporters, Goude compared Ivory Coast's deepening political crisis to the 2000 disputed U.S. presidential election.
"When the case made its way to the Supreme Court, and the court declared Bush the winner, I don't think the United Nations made a declaration against Bush," Goude said. "We need to learn to respect other countries."
Once a beacon of democracy in a region known for coups, Ivory Coast struggled to hold the election for years.
Gbagbo's five-year mandate officially expired in 2005, but he extended his stay in office.