Côte d’Ivoire’s ruling RHDP party has designated Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly as its presidential candidate for elections that will be held in October of this year. Coulibaly has been prime minister since 2017, but has worked alongside President Alassane Ouattara for more than thirty years, he said in a public announcement. Prior to his appointment as prime minister, Coulibaly served as secretary-general of the party after Ouattara took power in 2010, as well as minister of agriculture. Much like his mentor Ouattara, Coulibaly is well acquainted with international financial institutions and their functions. He earned his academic qualifications in France.
Why It Matters
Last week, President Alassane Ouattara announced he would not seek a third term in office. His earlier hints that he would seek reelection prompted worries among Ivorians and the international community tabout violence similar to the bloodshed that followed the 2010 presidential election. At the time, Ouattara faced off against former Ivorian presidents Henri Konan Bédié and Laurent Gbabgo, but ethnic divisions and political tensions boiled over into a protracted civil war after the results of the election were dismissed by the incumbent president Gbabgo. Three thousand Ivorians died in a war that ended with the help of French military and UN peacekeeping intervention. The naming of Amadou Gon Coulibaly as Ouattara’s replacement is a welcome move, though there are still fears that—given his close relationship to Ouattara—Coulibaly may continue the heavy-handed suppression of opposition political parties and other authoritarian measures Ouattara has taken over the past several months.