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Côte d'Ivoire

Gbagbo bids to be last 'dinosaur' standing

The former leader has agreed to fly his party's flag as presidential candidate in the 2025 elections but faces a few problems

Former President Laurent Gbagbo appears determined not to quit the political scene just yet after being named as presidential candidate for next year's elections by his Parti des peuples africains – Côte d'Ivoire (PPA-CI) on 10 May.

In a lengthy acceptance speech lasting more than an hour, Gbagbo said he would serve only one term, and promised to prioritise tackling corruption and judicial independence.

With Henri Konan Bédié dead and 82-year-old President Alassane Dramane Ouattara unlikely to stand again, Gbagbo could still find himself as the last man standing of the 'three dinosaurs' of Ivorian politics in 2025 if he can get on the ballot paper (AC Vol 64 No 12, Football before politics).

However, Gbagbo faces two major, and possibly insurmountable problems.

The first is that the 78-year-old's conviction in 2018, in which he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for his role in the looting of a bank, prevents him from running for public office, even though he was pardoned in 2022.

The second is that Gbagbo looks like a busted flush. His party performed poorly in local elections last September, failing to make gains in Gbagbo's stronghold of Guémon in the country's east and, despite having been formed only in October 2021, was reduced to minor party status. Gbagbo's son Michel Gbagbo also lost his mayoral seat in the Abidjan suburb of Yopougon (AC Vol 65 No 5, All eyes on 2025 – and the northern border). The decision by the Commission électorale indépendante (CEI) to prevent Gbagbo from standing in the local polls also hurt the PPA-CI's chances and is likely to be repeated.

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