President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast has announced in a national broadcast this Thursday, that he would be a candidate for a third term.
The head of state delivers an annual speech to the nation on the eve of the country’s Independence Day celebrations on August 7.
Ouattara said that after the death of “his candidate” Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly for the presidential election, and given the short time that separates the country from this deadline set at October 31, 2020, he decided to stand as a candidate for a third term, according to the DW French service.
“The risk that our country will decline in many areas, all this leads me to reconsider my position,” he said.
Ouattara said: “This carefully considered decision is a duty that I accept in the best interests of the nation in order to continue to put my experience relentlessly at the service of our country.” Many observers believe this decision will not go well with many people within the country and the global community as the president had promised some months ago that he will not run for a third term.
In a related development, The FPI, the party of Ivory Coast’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo. last Saturday, named a one-time prime minister, Pascal Affi N’Guessan as its candidate, ending speculation that Gbagbo might return from abroad to stand.
Ouattara’s other main challenger will be Henri Konan Bedie, who was president from 1993-1999 and is the confirmed candidate of one of the country’s largest parties, the PDCI.
The race is expected to be the most hotly contested since 2010 when Gbagbo’s refusal to step down after Ouattara’s victory sparked the deadly conflict.
Bedie has said he and Gbagbo have agreed that their parties would back the other’s candidate in the event of a second-round run-off against Ouattara. The first round of polling will be held on Oct. 31.