Tens of thousands of people attended Saturday a major rally of the ruling party in Yamoussoukro where President Alassane Ouattara again raised doubts about his candidacy for the presidential election in 2020.
« Third, third, third » chanted his supporters by asking President Alassane Dramane Ouattara – nicknamed ADO by his supporters – to stand for a third term in the presidential election of October 2020.
Laughing, the president replied: « If you ask me to do a third, then, then, then … ». « There will be no exclusion of candidate (in the presidential election) … ADO is not excluded, » he said, triggering cheers in the crowd.
Officially the gathering in Yamoussoukro was a « tribute ceremony » to the late President Houphouet-Boigny, the day of the anniversary of his death. But for the party of Ouattara, the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), it was also an opportunity to show that he too could mobilize many activists a little more than a month after the » giga-meeting « organized (and so baptized) in October by the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), led by former President Henri Konan Bédié.
The PDCI assures to have gathered 300.000 people whereas the president of the Senate Jeannot Ahoussou also evoked the figure of 300.000 people for the meeting of the RHDP Saturday.
President Ouattara, who for several months has been discussing the mystery of a possible candidacy, announced last week that he would be a candidate if his historic rivals, the former presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié, run for the polls.
Aged 77, Ouattara has repeatedly stated that he would announce his decision on his candidacy in 2020. He believes he has the right to stand due to a constitutional change in 2016, which is opposed by the opposition. .
The deadline for submitting candidatures for the presidential election has been set for July 2020.
Aged 85, the former president Henri Konan Bédié (1993-1999) also has doubts about his candidacy.
For his part, the former president Laurent Gbagbo, 74, is awaiting on parole in Belgium the examination of the Prosecutor’s appeal after his acquittal at first instance of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) , but his lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, asked for an unconditional release emitting « the hypothesis » that he could « ask his own candidacy ».
Ten years after the post-election crisis of 2010-2011 that had made 3,000 dead, the next presidential election in October 2020 looks tense in Côte d’Ivoire. The municipal and regional elections of 2018 had been marked by numerous acts of violence and fraud.