Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is launching a new political party this weekend to “unite the left”, with the 2025 presidential election in his sights.
“This is Laurent Gbagbo’s big comeback on the political scene,” welcomes Justin Koné Katinan, spokesperson for the former head of state. Since his arrival in Abidjan on June 17, acquitted by international justice who tried him for crimes against humanity in the bloody post-electoral crisis of 2010, Laurent Gbagbo has never been very far from politics.
Visit to the former president and former rival Henri Konan Bédié, meeting of “reconciliation” with the head of state Alassane Ouattara, rupture consummated with his former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan: he occupied the Ivorian political landscape. “Let’s assume we’re playing politics,” he said on July 10, during his visit to Henri Konan Bédié.
The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), his historic party founded underground in 1982, now in the hands of Pascal Affi N’Guessan, Laurent Gbagbo has chosen to breathe new life into his return by creating his own training.
Nearly 1,600 delegates are expected at the prestigious Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan to draft the manifesto and the texts of this new formation which should be called “Party of African Peoples – Ivory Coast” (PPA-CI). In the name as in the logo – two hands intertwined in a map of Africa – which will be offered on Sunday, the emphasis is on the pan-African dimension of the party. The sovereignty of Africa vis-à-vis the Western powers should also be one of the flagship themes of the congress this weekend.
Simone Gbagbo sends signals in recent weeks to go it alone
However, there is no question of abandoning national politics in Côte d’Ivoire. In the entourage of the former president, the slogan is clear: this new party aims to recreate a political debate in a country where the opposition has been considerably weakened for 10 years.
“We want to build a normal political opposition party that brings criticism. So that the debate leaves violence and becomes essentially political ”, proclaims Justin Koné Katinan. “We are waiting to see if it will be a real opposition or a party in search of power. We will see how they will proceed, what will be their alternative program, ”said political analyst Sylvain N’Guessan.
With Simone Gbagbo?
It remains to be seen which Ivorian political figures will join this platform. A large part of the executives and former ministers of the FPI will follow their former leader in this new adventure, but some unknowns remain.
Simone Gbagbo first. The former First Lady, from whom Laurent Gbagbo filed for divorce on his return to Côte d’Ivoire, has been sending signals in recent weeks to go it alone, like the launch of a platform supporting her.
Charles Blé Goudé, then. The influential pillar of Gbagbo’s regime (2000-2011), of which he was the co-accused in The Hague, has still been stranded in the Netherlands since his acquittal for lack of a passport, but maintains the mystery of his role during the his return to Ivory Coast.
Finally Guillaume Soro, former leader of the rebellion who helped Alassane Ouattara to gain power against Laurent Gbagbo and has now fallen out of favor, sentenced to life in June for “conspiracy” and currently in exile. What to leave the door ajar to the one who now embodies a fringe of the opposition to the Head of State.
“Those who want to join us know what to expect. We are a leftist party, and those who meet there can come ”, slips Justin Koné Katinan. The launch of this party, four months after Laurent Gbagbo’s return to Côte d’Ivoire, is in any case a first step towards the presidential election of 2025. A project by the executive aimed at limiting the age of candidates to 75 years could however constitute an obstacle to the ambitions of Laurent Gbagbo. In 2025, he will be 80 years old.