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Updated Mar 23, 2020

Marcel Amon-Tanoh, who has served as minister of foreign affairs of Côte d’Ivoire since November 2016, officially resigned from his position as of Thursday, March 19. On March 16, he met with President Alassane Ouattara following a National Security Council meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic to explain the reasons for his decision to resign. Although Amon-Tanoh worked alongside Ouattara for years, relations between the two had been deteriorating since the beginning of the year, with officials close to both men telling Jeune Afrique that the two hardly spoke to each other throughout February. The decision by Ouattara’s ruling RHDP coalition to name Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly as the party’s candidate for the presidential election on October 31 was one of the chief criticisms Amon-Tanoh leveled at Ouattara prior to his resignation.


Why It Matters

Marcel Amon-Tanoh’s resignation suggests that rifts are beginning to form within the RHDP coalition, which could threaten President Ouattara and the party’s near universal hold on power in Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara’s announcement earlier this month that he would not run for a third term has allayed some of the fear of a repeat of the violence the country suffered in the past, yet Ivorians are still on edge as the government continues to restrict press freedom, arrest political opponents, and fail to address the socioeconomic tensions that helped to ignite the civil war after the 2010 elections. All eyes are on Côte d’Ivoire prior to the October presidential election, as the stability of this West African country is critical while its neighbors to the north—Mali and Burkina Faso in particular—continue to deal with jihadist insurgencies.


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