ABIDJAN (AFP) - Alassane Ouattara swore himself in as Ivory Coasts new president by mail on Saturday, laying claim to the presidency in defiance of Laurent Gbagbo who faces international pressure to step aside. I, Alassane Ouattara... swear as follows the oath of the president of the republic of Ivory Coast, he said in a handwritten letter to the Constitutional Council, the countrys high court, followed by the wording of the formal oath of office. The exceptional circumstances Ivory Coast is undergoing at the moment do not permit me to swear the oath in person before the Constitutional Council, he said in the letter, an emailed copy of which was received by AFP. That is why I have the honour of sending you my written oath. In his letter to the court Ouattara cited UN-certified results from last Sundays election, which showed he beat Gbagbo by 54 percent to 46 percent. But those results were rejected by Gbagbos allies in the court. And on Saturday Gbagbo himself took the oath of office at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Abidjan, despite calls from the United Nations, European Union and other major powers for him to cede power to Ouattara. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, leader of the New Forces movement that controls the north of the country, offered his resignation to Ouattara who immediately re-appointed him to the post, in front of reporters. Deadly violence has left at least 17 people dead since last week during the fiercely-fought election which aimed to end a decade of instability in the west African country.