Ouattara nominated to seek re-election

2015-04-26 09:12
President Alassane Ouattara. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

President Alassane Ouattara. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

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Abidjan - Incumbent president Alassane Ouattara has officially been nominated for rel-election in October's presidential poll as the country seeks to move on from years of political turmoil.

Ouattara's official nomination was announced by former Ivorian head of state Henri Konan Bedie, with Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba also attending a grand ceremony held in the country's biggest stadium in Abidjan.

The 73-year-old Ouattara, decked out in a white hat and shirt, made a grand entrance into the 35 000-seat stadium riding in a convertible.

He was greeted by the crowd shouting "ADO president!" - a reference to his initials as Alassane Dramane Ouattara.

Lost their lives

The Ivorian leader had won the backing of his Rally of Republicans (RDR) party at a congress in March. Its ally the Democratic Party decided not to field its own candidate to help ensure Ouattara's victory.

Faced with a divided opposition, the former vice-president of the International Monetary Fund is the favourite in the presidential race.

Ouattara took office in 2011 after a bloody post-election crisis sparked by former president Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to hand over power, claiming electoral fraud in the 2010 presidential vote. More than 3 000 people lost their lives in the ensuing unrest.

The pro-Gbagbo Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party on Saturday said it would put forward a candidate to run against Ouattara.

"We will hold our congress in a few weeks and we will have a candidate to face Mr Ouattara," the main opposition party's head Pascal Affi N'Guessan said at a meeting in the central city of Bouake.

"Ivorians are waiting for this election to punish Ouattara," he said.

The FPI however remains split between hardliners demanding the release of Gbagbo - currently awaiting trial in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity - before any elections are held, and those in the party who back N'Guessan for the presidency.

Following a decade of political and military crisis, the economy in the west African nation - the world's largest cocoa producer - expanded by nine percent between 2012 and 2014, with strong investment in the public sector.

Wounds of conflict

Ouattara has pledged to maintain similar levels of growth until 2020. But his critics say that the fruits of development have not been well distributed among the population of around 20 million people.

Ouattara also claims credit for restoring calm in the former French colony, although opposition figures and civil society activists argue that despite the creation of a truth and reconciliation committee to help heal the wounds of conflict, the results have not been significant enough.

"I found a country in ruins, which needed to be rebuilt," Ouattara told AFP in a 2013 interview.

"I made it clear that I am not sure how to finish this work in the time I have left and I will probably seek a second term."

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  west africa

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