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Date:14 Oct 2020
#Getfamiliar with the 4 candidates standing in Ivory Coast's presidential election


Ivory Coast’s Constitutional Court ruled in September that only four of 44 presidential hopefuls would be allowed to run in the country’s October 31 presidential election.
Because they face criminal sentences, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, both giants of Ivorian politics, were among those barred from running.
Most of the others whose candidacies were judged invalid had failed to amass enough support from the public – a new electoral reform required candidates to canvass signatures from at least 1 percent of the electorate in 17 of the country’s regions in order to stand.
Those remaining will compete in the first round of the election on October 31. 
Alassane Ouattara
Before entering politics, Ouattara worked as an IMF economist and served as the Governor of the Central Bank of West African States. On the campaign trail, he will be keen to boast of his presidential legacy of economic development. Since Ouattara entered office in 2011 following a post-electoral crisis that claimed at least 3,000 lives, the country’s GDP has grown by an average of 8 percent annually (although the poverty rate remains high, at 46.3 percent). Under his watch, the government introduced universal health coverage, built new roads and massively expanded access to electricity.
In 2015, Ouattara won a landslide victory with 84 percent of the vote. This time around it will be harder. He does not have the support of Henri Konan Bédié (who is arguably now his greatest challenger) and faces anger over the exclusion of Gbagbo and Soro from the race.
President Alassane Ouattara’s bid for a third term in office has been rife with controversy. Opponents and legal experts point out that the Ivorian constitution limits the presidency to two terms. The government maintains that because the constitution was reformed in 2016, the term count should be re-set to zero.
For years, Ouattara had suggested that he would not run again. The 78-year-old had made repeated promises to hand power over to “a young generation”. He declared in March that Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, 61, would contest the election in his place. But Coulibaly’s sudden death from a heart attack in July shattered his plans for his political succession, and so Ouattara was forced to rethink.
Henri Konan Bédié
The 86-year-old President of the PDCI party is Ouattara’s main challenger. He is also the figure around which other opposition parties are likely to unite should the election go to a second-round. To detractors that say he is too old to run, he insists: “Age is an asset”.
Bédié served as President of Ivory Coast from 1993 to 1999. His presidency was marked by the embrace of Ivoirité – a xenophobic ideology used to discriminate against those of Burkinabe and Malian origins. Under the guise of Ivoirité, Bédié barred Ouattara, whose father was rumoured to be from Burkina Faso, from taking part in the 1995 presidential election.
After being ousted in a coup in 1999 – the first in the country’s history – he went into exile in France before returning to Ivory Coast in 2002 during the outbreak of the civil war.
After coming third in the 2010 presidential election, Bédié urged PDCI supporters to back Ouattara in the second round in an ultimately successful bid to oust Laurent Gbagbo from power.
In 2015 his party supported Ouattara again, this time from the outset, helping the RHDP win a landslide. A number of PDCI members gained ministerial positions in government and continue to hold them, even after the alliance fell apart in 2018.
In the run up to the 2020 election, there are signs that Bédié has been successful in building new alliances. On Sunday he held a meeting attended by parties whose candidates have been barred from competing by the constitutional court. Flanked by delegates from the pro-Gbagbo wing of the FPI party and Guillaume Soro’s GPS party, he called for civil disobedience in response to Ouattara’s “violation” of the constitution. He was met with rapturous applause.
Pascal Affi N’Guessan
Despite having come second in the last presidential election, Pascal Affi N’Guessan faces a difficult campaign.
The 67-year-old ex-Prime Minister is the ‘official’ leader of the FPI – the left-wing party set up by Laurent Gbagbo. After Gbagbo was sent to face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in 2011, the party split in two.
His chances of winning in the first round are small – particularly if the ‘Gbagbo or Nothing’ wing keeps its promise to not boycott this election and then throws its weight behind Bédié.
Kouadio Konan Bertin
Affectionally known as KKB, Kouadio Konan Bertin once had grand ambitions of standing as a candidate for the PDCI. But after falling out with Bédié in 2015, he decided to run as an independent, coming third in the election. The 51-year old former MP is now standing as the election’s only independent candidate.
40% of the Ivorian population is under the age of 15. KKB is pitching himself as a fresh-faced alternative to the other three candidates who have an average age of 77 and who have long-dominated Ivorian politics.
His campaign slogans include “Reform, reconciliation, redistribution” and “Together create the conditions of true change”. 

Source: France24


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