Ivory Coast has rejected appeals made by former president Laurent Ggbabo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to run for the October presidential election, an official said on Friday. This is coming after President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to contest a third term in October, which has triggered outrage among opposition and civil society groups. Ouattara’s decision has been labelled a “coup” capable of disintegrating the country into chaos.
Gbagbo and Soro remain interested in the highest office, but according to the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), their names were not included in the electoral list for the ballot.
“The decisions have been posted since the 18th, the CEI has not granted their requests,” Inza Kigbafori, the CEI communications manager, told AFP.
Ouattara, who had said he would not be running again, changed his position after the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly — seen as Ouattara’s anointed successor — from a heart attack in July.
The shock news has stoked the fires of acrimony and heightened tensions in Ivory Coast.
Many analysts fear the October 31 presidential election could be marred by even more violence than the one witnessed in the 2010 election, which killed around 3,000 people.
Laurent Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.
Soro was a former ally of Ouattara, who helped him into power during the post-election crisis of 2010, but the two fell out. He was also a rebel leader in a 2002 revolt that divided the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south, triggering years of unrest. He was forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems in Ivory Coast.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: AFP