Tag Archives: Laurent Gbagbo

Minister discusses return with ex president, Laurent Gbagbo.

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Gbagbo’s return is one of the big issues in talks on ending the post-election rift, gathering the government on one side

An Ivory Coast minister said Thursday he would shortly meet ousted ex-president Laurent Gbagbo to discuss his return home to help heal national divisions.

In an interview with AFP, National Reconciliation Minister Kouadio Konan Bertin said he would go to the Ghanaian capital of Accra next week.

From there, “I am going to Brussels to meet Laurent Gbagbo,” he said.

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The “conditions” for the former president’s return will be discussed, he said, without giving details.

The minister gave no date for the talks, but “the principle (of the meeting) has been reached,” and it was being carried out with the approval of President Alassane Ouattara, Gbagbo’s long-standing rival.

“I am acting in his name,” he said.

Gbagbo, 75, was ousted in April 2011 after refusing to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara, triggering violence that claimed around 3,000 lives.

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He and a former right-hand man, Charles Ble Goude, were tried on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

They were acquitted in January 2019 and remain free pending the outcome of an appeal. Gbagbo is currently in Brussels.

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The former president retains significant political clout at home, through his party and a regional stronghold.

After bitterly contested presidential elections in October, Ouattara offered an olive branch to Gbagbo, apparently believing that his predecessor could help ease tensions.

Ouattara issued him with a diplomatic passport in addition to an ordinary one, but since then, there has been no movement in Gbagbo’s plans — initially set for December — to come back.

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Bertin, who trailed a distant third in the October 31 poll, described Gbagbo as a “major figure” in Ivorian politics “whose opinion should be taken into account.”

His return should be “negotiated… in order to consolidate social peace,” he said.

Bertin also said he would go to The Hague to meet a close aide of Goude, who also wants to return.

Gbagbo’s return is one of the big issues in talks on ending the post-election rift, gathering the government on one side and opposition figures who boycotted the poll on the other.

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The opposition said that Ouattara had already served two terms in office and his third term violated the constitution — a claim Ouattara denies on the grounds that a constitutional revision reset the presidential tenure to zero.

The ICC has given Gbagbo authorisation to travel outside of Belgium, provided the host country accepts him.

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#Newsworthy

Court clears Gbagbo for upcoming election; reject charges. [Ivory Coast]

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The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled on Friday to reject the exclusion of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo from the upcoming presidential elections of October 31 — ordering the Ivorian state to “take all necessary measures to immediately remove all obstacles” hindering his participation in the race as his lack of signature on the candidacy bid – filed by supporters on his behalf given his current exile in Belgium, saw The Ivorian Constitutional Council find it inamissible.

The Court also ordered the Ivorian state to “suspend the mention of the criminal conviction of the criminal record” of Gbagbo and had already passed a similar ruling — condemning the Ivorian state for another opponent, former rebel leader and former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, whose candidacy had also been rejected by the Constitutional Council after a court conviction.

Acquitted at a court of first instance of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, Gbagbo, 75, is awaiting a possible appeal in Belgium to be able to return to his native Côte d’Ivoire — whose authorities refuse, according to his lawyers, to issue him a passport.


#Newsworthy…

[Ivory Coast] Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters file his election candidacy.

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Supporters of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, who lives in Belgium after being tried by the International Criminal Court, on Monday filed his candidacy for October’s presidential election.

Gbagbo, who was freed conditionally by the ICC after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity, had been barred by the country’s electoral commission from running.

“We have just submitted the candidacy file of our political leader, president Laurent Gbagbo, the father of democracy in Ivory Coast who we have applied to be our candidate for the presidential election,” said Georges-Armand Ouegnin, president of the pro-Gbagbo coalition called Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS).

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The October 31 election in the world’s top cocoa grower is set to be tense after years of political turbulence and civil war, and Gbagbo’s return to national politics is highly sensitive.

The country remains scarred by a conflict that erupted after the 2010 vote when Gbagbo refused to hand over power to the victor, current President Alassane Ouattara. Around 3,000 people lost their lives in several months of violence.

Gbagbo, who has not made any public statement about whether he wishes to run again, is living in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal against the ICC ruling.

In the meantime, he can travel, provided the country of destination accepts him.

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Struck from electoral lists
Independent Electoral Commission chief Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert has said that anyone convicted of a crime would be struck from the electoral lists for the ballot.

Gbagbo, 75, was sentenced in absentia to a 20-year term last November for the looting of the local branch of the Central Bank of West African States during the post-election crisis.

A supporter of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, president of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), gesture next to a banner in Abidjan on August 31, 2020, during the submission of his candidacy file to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagboa is the candidate of the opposition coalition Together Democracy Sovereignty (EDS) in the presidential election of October 2020. (Photo by SIA KAMBOU / AFP)

In theory he could be jailed if he were to set foot in Ivory Coast, which makes any return a hot-button issue in the election run-up.

Ouegnin said the decision to block Gbagbo from running was political, while judicial sources said they believe his candidacy is unlikely to be validated.

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“The Constitutional Council will have the heavy responsibility before the Ivorian people and history to decide on the validity” of blocking him from the electoral roll, said Ouegnin.

He called for the release of all political prisoners and the return of political exiles including Gbagbo.

The 2020 election is already set to be tense.

Violence erupted after Ouattara’s announcement he is seeking a third term, claiming the lives of at least eight people in August.

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The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock.

Candidates have until midnight Monday to submit their files with the electoral commission.

Relatives of the former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home, are expected to submit his candidacy on Monday.

Former president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, who also contested the 2010 election, is also expected to run.


#Newsworthy…

Cote d’ivoire releases deadline for candidacy papers

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The schedule for submitting candidacy papers to run for October’s presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire ends by midnight.

At least 36 candidates are expected to be registered by the end the day for the presidential race, if all application are submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission.

Opposition leaders, Pascal Affi Nguessan of Ivorian Popular Front, and Henri Konan Bedie of the opposition Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire had earlier submitted their candidacy last Thurday.

Political Icons, Laurent Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro, are also expected to file in their candidacy despite being struff off by the electoral body and having lost their civil rights.

Outgoing President Alassane Ouattara, was the first to submit his application last Monday, with the signatures of one million citizens, a condition for eligibility to contest for the presidency:

Ivorian voters are expected to go to the polls on October 31, 2020, the constitutional deadline, to elect a new president.


#Newsworthy…

Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara files candidacy for elections – calls for peace

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Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called for peace after clashes that have claimed at least eight lives as he filed his candidacy on Monday for elections less than three months away.

Clashes broke out after Ouattara, who initially said he would not stand again, changed his mind following the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, his anointed successor.

“I know I can count on all my fellow citizens to ensure that this election is peaceful and that Ivorians can make their choice in peace, without violence,” Ouattara said as he left the headquarters of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) in Abidjan, flanked by most members of the government.

“We will submit to the verdict of our citizens. The citizens will remember our record, which is an exceptional record over the past nine years… I have a vision of stability, security, peace and happiness for Ivorians,” he said.

The constitution limits presidents to two terms, but 78-year-old Ouattara and his supporters argue that a 2016 constitutional tweak reset the clock, allowing him to seek a third.

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Six people were killed and about 100 were injured in demonstrations that erupted after Ouattara announced on August 6 that he would seek re-election following Gon Coulibaly’s death in July from a heart attack.

At least two more were killed at the weekend in clashes at Divo, 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Abidjan, after Ouattara formally accepted his nomination by the ruling RHDP party.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara wearing a protective mask attends a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the country Independance from France on August 7, 2020 at the presidential palace in Abidjan. SIA KAMBOU / AFP.

Opposition and civil society groups say Outtara’s move to stand again in the October 31 vote amounts to a “coup”.

The world’s top cocoa grower remains scarred by a brief civil war that erupted after 2010 elections, when then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede to the victor, Ouattara. Months of violence claimed around 3,000 lives.

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– Gbabgo barred –

Challengers to the incumbent include 86-year-old former president Henri Konan Bedie for the main opposition party PDCI.

Two former ministers and Ouattara allies, ex-foreign minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and ex-education minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri, are also running.

But election officials have rejected appeals by Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to be allowed to compete.

Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.

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His return to Ivory Coast would be sensitive before the presidential election. His Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party urged him to throw his hat in the electoral ring.

Soro, a former rebel leader, has been forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home.

He was a leader in a 2002 revolt that sliced the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south and triggered years of unrest.

He was once an ally of Ouattara, helping him to power during the post-election crisis in 2010. The two eventually fell out.


#Newsworthy…

Former Ivory Coast President, Laurent Gbagbo denied in new Election bid.

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Ivory Coast election authorities rejected appeals by former President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro to be allowed to run in the country’s October election, an official said Friday.

President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to contest a third term in October has already triggered outrage among opposition and civil society groups, who labelled it a “coup” that risked triggering chaos.

Gbagbo and Soro had appealed to the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) against a decision to not include them in electoral lists for the ballot.

“The decisions have been posted since the 18th, the CEI has not granted their requests,” Inza Kigbafori, the CEI communications manager, told AFP.

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Ouattara, in power since 2010, had said in March that he would not run for re-election. The opposition says he is unable to run because the constitution limits presidents to two terms.

Ouattara changed his position after the sudden death of prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly — seen as Ouattara’s anointed successor — from a heart attack in July.

The shock news heightened tensions before October 31 vote, which takes place in the shadow cast by violence following 2010’s election that killed around 3,000 people.

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo gestures as he enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on January 15, 2019. Peter Dejong / ANP / AFP

Gbagbo was freed conditionally by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.

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His return to Ivory Coast would be sensitive before the presidential election. His Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party urged him to throw his hat in the electoral ring.

Soro, a former rebel leader, has been forced into self-imposed exile in France in the face of a long list of legal problems at home.

He was a leader in a 2002 revolt that sliced the former French colony into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south and triggered years of unrest.

He was once an ally of Ouattara, helping him to power during the post-election crisis in 2010. The two eventually fell out.


#Newsworthy…