Outrage as Ivory Coast’s President Opts to Run for Third Term

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Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara has decided to run for a third term in October’s presidential election, sparking outrage amongst the opposition party.

The ruling RHDP party formally asked Ouattara to run again, after his preferred successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died in June. Ouattara asked the party for some time to consider, informing party members that he would announce his decision in a public address on Aug. 6.

His opponents insist that he does not have the legal right to serve a third term.

“I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens,” Ouattara said in a televised speech accepting the nomination. “Given my previous promise, this decision represents a real sacrifice for me.”

While the RHDP is pleased with his conclusion, Simone Ouattara, second vice -president of the Ivorian Popular Front and wife of the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, slammed the decision.

“It is worth recalling that the candidacy of Mr Alassane Ouattara is unconstitutional as we all know. Moreover, his candidacy violates the Ivorian Constitution, at least in spirit, as formulated by the authors of that text.” Simone Gbagbo told reporters at a news briefing.

FPI spokesman Issiaka Sangare added: “Ivory Coast could have given another signal that would have allowed democracy to continue.”

Ivory Coast law limits presidential terms to two, but according to Ouattara, a new constitution adopted in 2016 means that his first two terms do not count towards his two-term limit.

The first round of polling will take place on Oct. 31.

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