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Cote d’Ivoire 2020 elections: Soro makes a bid for president

By Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan
Posted on Thursday, 6 June 2019 12:40

Guillaume Soro in his last days as president of the National Assembly in Abidjan, Ivory Coast February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Guillaume Soro has finally broken the silence on his presidential ambitions.

The former rebel is leading a major campaign for the country’s top job, after resigning as the National Assembly president in February.

“I’m unemployed… My stool was ripped away, but I’m aiming for a more comfortable chair ” said the former rebel leader.

Earlier, Soro hinted at pursuing a PhD in Finance at Harvard University.

  • Soro’s presidential ambitions will see him going head-to-head with former President Henri Konan Bédié, the leader of the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), in the 2020 Presidential Elections.

Ex-Prime Minister (2007-2012) Guillaume Soro launched his bid for the presidency by establishing the Political Committee (PC):

  • Modelled on La République en marche, by Emmanuel Macron of France.
  • Made up of 50 associations and support clubs;
  • Unites three political parties the National Alliance for Change (ANC), the Rally for Côte d’Ivoire (Raci), the Movement for the Promotion of New Values in Côte d’Ivoire (MVCI)
  • Targeting 800,000 signatures from supporters

Soro’s campaigns asks citizens who feel abandoned by the majority party to support the PC. This approach has irritated current President Alassane Ouattara, and his unified party, the Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP).

His party also appears to be in talks with former President Laurent Gbagbo who remains on parole in Brussels.

  • Gbagbo received a shock acquittal at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Since March, Soro has been living in the North, the fiefdom of the Head of State. He’s held several senior leadership positions over the years, including:

  • Prime Minister (2007 – 2012)
  • President of the National Assembly (2012 – 2019)

Bottom line: Ouattara can expect a tough ride if he hopes to install a successor.

This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.