Ivory Coast President Ouattara Says He May Seek Third Term

(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara may seek re-election in 2020 after the West African nation adopted a new constitution two years ago that he said allows him to extend his two terms in power.

Since assuming office in 2011 after almost a decade of political instability, Ouattara repeatedly said he would step down after completing a second term, which he won in 2015. While his ruling Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace coalition agreed in April to form a single party, the alliance didn’t say when the new body will be formed and is divided over who will succeed Ouattara.

Ouattara said in an interview with weekly magazine Jeune Afrique published on Sunday that he will make a decision in the next two years. While both versions of the constitution set limits of two presidential terms, Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans party said the new code shouldn’t take into account his victories in the 2010 and 2015 polls.

“The new constitution allows me to do two terms starting from 2020,” Ouattara told the magazine. “I will not make my final decision at this time, based on the situation of Ivory Coast. Stability and peace comes first, just even before my own principles.”

Presidential elections in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa grower, have often fueled tension since the death of the first post-independence ruler Felix Houphouet-Boigny in 1993 and two out of four votes have turned violent. In 2010, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge he’d lost the election to Ouattara, triggering six months of fighting that resulted in more than 3,000 deaths.

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