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Ivory Coast PM Amadou Gon Coulibaly dies, leaving behind political uncertainty

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

The Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, has died after a ministerial meeting. Coulibaly, who had just been chosen by the governing party as their candidate for the upcoming Presidential election, had just returned from extended medical leave in France for treatment of heart issues. The country started its period of mourning on Friday, which will culminate with Coulibaly’s burial next week in his hometown of Korhogo.

This comes at a fractious time for Ivorian politics. After the 2010/11 civil war in Ivory Coast left 3000 dead, the country has been led by President Alassane Outarra. Coulibaly had been selected as a continuity candidate for the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) party, as Coulibaly is Outarra’s closest political ally.

Coulibaly’s death has left a political vacuum in the Ivory Coast, as there are now questions as to who will lead the RHDP’s ticket for the upcoming Presidential elections. Although he is reaching the end of his second term, President Outarra is most likely, however there have been questions raised about the legitimacy of Outarra attempting a third term. The adoption of a new constitution in 2016 has generated uncertainty over whether a third term would be legal. Whilst Outarra, and the RHDP, say it is legitimate, many of the opposition parties claim otherwise.

In a political situation fuelled by fears of violence and with the prospect of another civil war plaguing many minds, the West African community will be watching the situation carefully on the 1st of September, when the deadline to submit candidates’ names passes.

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