This comes on the back of the death of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly earlier this month. Gon Coulibaly, who died of a cardiac arrest, had been expected to lead the RHDP after President Ouattara.
Former Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan too, who could have been an option instead of Gon Coulibaly, resigned days after the latter’s death due to personal reasons.
President Ouattara has not yet accepted his party’s nomination but the VOA believes he will make a statement to that effect on August 6 during a planned speech.
But in March of this year, President Ouattara, 76, ruled out running for a third term.
“I would like to solemnly announce that I will not be a candidate in the October 31, 2020 presidential election and I will transfer power to the younger generation,” he said to lawmakers.
This was in spite of Ouattara’s stated intention to run if former presidents Henri Konan Bédié, 86, and Laurent Gbagbo, 75, threw their hats into the race. The former has so confirmed his participation in the presidential polls.
The RHDP’s nomination of Ouattara comes as very little surprise. Reuters reported earlier in the month on the party’s intention, quoting a party source who said “We think unanimously that only President Ouattara can carry the flag. He alone can unite us.; It is true that he said he did not want to be a candidate, but the situation has changed.”
Ivory Coast’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms but according to President Ouattara, there is a provision that allows him to run for a third if he wants to. Opposition parties have unsurprisingly shot down the president’s assertion, sometimes with the threat of a volatile response if he does contest for a third term.
In the coming months, tensions are expected to rise whether or not Ouattara accepts the nod to lead the RHDP into the polls, further boosting fears of another civil war in a country that was not long ago devastated by one.