Opinion

Prime Minister's death complicates political situation in Côte d'Ivoire

PM Costa de Marfil

The death of the prime minister and main candidate in the elections in Côte d'Ivoire, which will be held at the end of October, complicates the political situation in one of the most stable and prosperous countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Amadou Gon Coulibaly was called upon to succeed his friend, President Alassane Ouattara, who had managed to calm the country down after the violent incidents that followed his first election and initiate an economic recovery that was now being held up as an example.

At the end of his third term, Ouattara refused - unlike many of his African colleagues who were so prone to perpetuate themselves in power - to run for a fourth term and encouraged his friend and main collaborator, Amadou Gon, from his same party and prime minister, to run. His good personal image and Ouattara's legacy predicted him as a likely winner. 

Two years ago, the Prime Minister had undergone a heart transplant in Paris from which he had recovered satisfactorily until a month ago when he felt bad again, took the COVID-19 test and was negative, and went back to Paris for a check-up from which he also seemed to have recovered. At the end of June, he went back to his office and the Minister took part in the Council. He was encouraged by the election campaign and there was nothing to indicate that his health problems were at risk. However, a few hours later, on 8 June, he died, leaving his privileged position on the electoral lists vacant. He was 61 years old. 

At this point in the electoral pre-campaign, his absence has posed a problem that is difficult to solve. Among the different candidates participating in the race, none stands out in a special way. On the contrary, most of them are at odds with each other and none of them is supported outside their circles and tribes. 

The leaders of the RHDP, the ruling party, are recovering the initial idea of convincing Ouattara, the current president, to reconsider his decision and agree to run again. Elections are set for October 31. There is therefore very little time left to find a new candidate, although candidates have already begun to emerge in the party, which is feared to fuel the conflict that was settled in the past thanks to the French intervention and left 3,000 dead.