Côte d’Ivoire: Former rebels’ leader Guillaume Soro to run for president

Côte d’Ivoire: Former rebels’ leader Guillaume Soro to run for president

Former Ivorian rebels’ leader Guillaume Soro has announced he will run in next year’s presidential election — the first major politician to do so.

“There are some pro-Soro parties that have chosen me as their candidate,” Soro, who has also served as prime minister, said in a speech broadcast live on his Facebook page. “So I will be a candidate,” Soro said.

Guillaume Soro is seen as Côte d’Ivoire’s youngest and most media-savvy opposition figure. The 47-year-old led the rebels that unsuccessfully attempted to oust former President Laurent Gbagbo in 2002, dividing the country for nearly a decade.

Since last year, the former rebel is leading a major campaign for the country’s top job, after resigning as the National Assembly president in February.

“I’m unemployed… My stool was ripped away, but I’m aiming for a more comfortable chair,” said the former rebel leader.

Soro’s campaign asks citizens who feel abandoned by the majority party to support him. This approach has irritated current President Alassane Ouattara, and his unified party, Le Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP).

Since March, Soro has been living in the North, the fiefdom of the Head of State.

As a reminder, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer of cocoa and was the fastest growing economy in West Africa last year, thanks to its agriculture, construction and retail sectors.

Incumbent President Ouattara, 77, has said he intends to hand power to a younger generation at the 2020 election.

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