I Coast PM and government quit as tensions rise

2017-01-09 21:14
Map of Ivory Coast. (iStock)

Map of Ivory Coast. (iStock)

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Abidjan - Ivory Coast's prime minister Daniel Kablan Duncan resigned along with his government Monday, a day after the end of a short-lived army mutiny that raised security fears in the world's top cocoa producer.

Although the resignation is standard procedure as it follows legislative elections in December, it comes at a time of mounting speculation that former rebel leader Guillaume Soro engineered Friday's mutiny as he is angling for the prime ministerial post or the vice presidency.

Ivorian state employees meanwhile began a five-day strike on Monday to protest against pension cuts ranging from 30 to 50% and a plan to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60.

"The strike affects all sectors - especially education, health and territorial administration," Theodore Gnagna Zadi, who is leading the strikers, told AFP.

President Alassane Ouattara accepted Duncan's resignation, the presidency announced.

Soro is a contender for the post of parliament speaker - a job he currently holds.

The new speaker is due to be elected later on Monday.

An analyst said that the army mutiny, which saw soldiers seize the second city of Bouake and several other key areas while demanding bonuses, better pay and houses, could have been masterminded by Ouattara.

"One of the things to ascertain is whether there has been a political manipulation. We are waiting for the nomination of the vice president and the prime minister... are the former rebel leaders behind this?" one said.

"At present everybody is thinking about Guillaume Soro," the expert said, referring to one of the leaders of the 2002 rebellion which sliced the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south and triggered years of unrest.

Soro had served as prime minister for five years until March 2012.

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  alassane ouatara  |  west africa

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