To his fans, Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara is a dynamo president whose leadership is bringing much-needed stability to the world's top cocoa producer. To his critics, he's a dangerous authoritarian.

The US-trained economist was the driving force behind the new constitution that was overwhelmingly backed at a referendum on Sunday, according to official results.

Ouattara insists the changes will help cement Ivory Coast's recovery from years of conflict, but the opposition says it concentrates too much power in the executive and is mostly aimed at lining up a successor.

The new constitution's design bears American influences, perhaps a reflection of Outtara's years studying in Pennsylvania: a strong executive, a senate, fixed election dates and a vice-president picked by himself.

A former top official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), 74-year-old Ouattara is credited with making good use of his contacts to pump investment into the war-scarred economy since taking office in 2011.

After a decade of unrest and a civil war that saw the once prosperous former French colony split in two, Ouattara has overseen major infrastructure works including new roads, bridges and dams.

He has pledged to press on with the development agenda since he was re-elected for a second term last year, despite questions over his methods, which have seen entire seafront communities and districts prone to landslides razed and residents evicted.

Deep wounds to heal

Known as a tireless worker who gets by on little sleep, Ouattara has also vowed to wipe out corruption.

But while Ivorians have cheered his efforts to boost the economy, he has come under fire on the judicial front.

Rights groups slammed the detention of opponents ahead of October's presidential vote, and campaigners say little justice has been meted out to members of his own camp since the deadly 2010-2011 post-election crisis that brought him to office.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the conflict, sparked when then incumbent Laurent Gbagbo -- now facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court -- refused to step down and cede power to Ouattara.

Ouattara has appealed to Ivorians to put aside religious and ethnic differences of the past, but to many the president -- who hails from the mainly Muslim north -- is a living reminder of the rifts that split the country between north and south in a 2002 civil war.

National identity questions

Known as "Ado" after his initials, Ouattara was born in Dimbokro in central Ivory Coast.

But his father was from Burkina Faso and Ouattara did most of his schooling there, feeding a controversy over his national identity that has repeatedly come back to haunt him.

After spending most of the 1970s in the United States working for the IMF and studying for his PhD, Ouattara was appointed vice-governor of the BCEAO in 1983 before serving as its chief.

He was Ivory Coast's prime minister from 1990-1993, and was considered a candidate for the 1995 presidential race -- until he was barred from running as his opponents accusing him of being of Burkinabe origin.

After another stint with the IMF, Ouattara returned to Abidjan in 1999 and was appointed head of the Rally of Republicans party, launching himself into the 2000 presidential campaign.

But his candidacy was rejected once again due to accusations that he was insufficiently "Ivorian", and Gbagbo won that election.

The repeated barring of Ouattara from running for the highest office is widely seen a trigger of the 2002 low-level civil war that split the country between the pro-Gbagbo south and pro-Ouattara rebels in the north.

The 2010-11 conflict fractured the nation along similar lines, with Ouattara finally taking power with the help of a major offensive from northern ex-rebels.

The new constitution aims to move on from the deadly divisions of the past, removing a contested clause stipulating that both parents of a presidential candidate must be born on Ivorian soil and that the candidate must not have sought nationality in another country.

Ouattara is married to Frenchwoman Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara and has two children from a first marriage.