The current and first elected President of The Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, decided not to run for a third term in office. This decision is unlike many of his counterparts in other African countries. Alassane Ouattara has been ruling the country for nine years now and decided not to run for the third term in office against all odds. It is widely believed that his decision was long in the planning and highly strategic of him. He announced his resignation from office come October 2020.
Ouattara became president in 2010 after the controversial 2010-2011 political crisis that led to the arrest of then-President Laurent Gbagbo. Ouattara’s assumption of the presidency caused the then-President Laurent Gbagbo and his ally Ble Goude to be arrested by opposition forces and later on extradited to the international criminal court on November 30th, 2011, until granting them conditional release pursuant to the Appeals Chambers decision on February 1st, 2020. It is recorded that around 3000 people died in the violence. This arrest made Laurent Gbagbo the first Head of State to be taken into the court custody. This arrest and prosecution also paved the way for Ouattara’s victory declaration pronounced and sworn-in as the duly elected president following the declaration of the Ivorian electoral commission with 54.1% as against 45.9%.
Ouattara announced his decision saying: “During the two terms you have entrusted me with the leadership of our beautiful country, I have always attached particular importance to honoring my commitments. In the same spirit, I had indicated on several occasions, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the Third Republic in 2016, that I did not wish to run for another presidential term. Accordingly, I would like to solemnly announce that I have decided not to stand as a candidate in the presidential election of 2020.”
After this announcement, many have baptized Ouattara as a man of true value who is not after the power but the well-being of each and every Ivorian. He has surely left a legacy. There has been doubt amidst the Rally of the Houphouetists for Democracy and peace (RHDP) on who is to be the next party candidate. Many speculate the president already has his replacement. Two main potential candidates are Albert Toikeusse Mabri and Marcel Amon-Tanoh, who have made their ambitions clear. Ouattara has endorsed Amadou Gon Coulibaly as the country’s next president, saying, “I wish to leave the hand to a team and I propose that Amadou be the leader” and later reaffirmed his support of Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Abidjan during a party meeting on March 12th, 2020.
All signs point to the fact that it is not clear whom Gon Coulibaly will run against. Ouattara’s two main rivals, Laurent Gbagbo and another former president, Henri Konan Bedie, have not yet said whether they will run for the presidency. After being nominated to run by the RHDP, Coulibaly said, “I am aware of the magnitude of the responsibility and the magnitude of the burden.”
The Minister of Defence backed President Ouattara’s decision by saying, “[i]f we want our country to continue to evolve in the spirit of [Ouattara’s] governance, Gon [Coulibaly] is best placed.” Gon Coulibaly is from a large family in the country’s north and is very influential among traditional chiefs. He was mayor of Ivory Coast’s fourth-largest city, Korhogo, from 2001 to 2018.
Africa and the international community will observe the Ivory Coast Presidential Election coming up in October 2020 very closely. Predictions by many political analysts claim it will be a very interesting election and perhaps full of surprises.
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