Ivory Coast President Ouattara to seek third-term in October elections

Friday August 7 2020


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Abidjan. Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said Thursday he will contest tense presidential polls in October, which come after years of political turbulence and civil war in the world's top cocoa grower.
The presidential race was transformed after prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly -- seen as Ouattara's anointed successor -- died of a heart attack on July 8 at the age of 61.
"I am a candidate in the presidential election of October 31," Ouattara told public broadcaster RTI.
"I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens," he said.
Ouattara's decision will likely spark accusations of abuse of democracy under the country's two-term presidential limits.
He has previously argued that a constitutional change has reset the clock, enabling him to potentially run again.
The election comes after a low-level civil war and then political turmoil that erupted in 2011 when former strongman Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara after losing elections.
The ensuing unrest claimed some 3,000 lives.
The polls are also being contested by Gbagbo's former prime minister Pascal Affi N'Guessan, former president and Ouattara's arch-foe Henri Konan Bedie and former foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh.
Gbagbo, freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, has applied for a passport so that he can return home for the election.
Gbagbo and his deputy Charles Ble Goude were acquitted of four counts of crimes against humanity over the 2010-2011 bloodshed following a disputed vote in Ivory Coast: murder, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts. They had always maintained their innocence.