Gbagbo’s party picks presidential hopeful
THE party of Ivory Coast’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, has chosen its leader, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, to run in an October 25 presidential election that will mark its return to electoral politics following a string of boycotts since a brief 2011 war.
Gbagbo is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged responsibility for crimes against humanity committed during the conflict, which was sparked by his refusal to recognise his defeat by Alassane Ouattara in a 2010 election.
Reuters reported that thousands of Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) members and supporters chanted “Free Gbagbo” and “Affi president” at a rally in the commercial capital, Abidjan, at the weekend
Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy and the world’s top cocoa grower, has seen a rapid economic revival under Ouattara’s presidency that has turned the heads of foreign investors.
However, in his speech to supporters, N’Guessan focused on the slow pace of national reconciliation and perceived one-sided justice in the wake of the war, issues for which Ouattara has received heavy criticism from rights groups.