(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast’s government resigned on Wednesday amid increasing divisions within the ruling political coalition over who should succeed Alassane Ouattara as president when he’s due to step down in 2020.
Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who has been reappointed to his post, has been asked to form a government with members of the ruling Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace coalition and civil rights groups, Patrick Achi, the presidency’s secretary-general, told reporters Wednesday in the commercial capital, Abidjan. He didn’t give a reason for the decision.
The shakeup is a sign of increasing political tension in an economy that’s been one of Africa’s top performers since the end of a five-month post-electoral conflict that claimed thousands of lives in 2011.
While Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans has suggested the ruling alliance could hold primaries to find a candidate, coalition partner Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, or PDCI, last month said it wants to choose its own candidate. A plan to turn the coalition into a single party has been delayed until after the elections.
The RDR already dominated the outgoing 28-member government and the 12 ministerial posts allocated to the PDCI will probably be reduced in the new cabinet, according to Ousmane Zina, a political analyst at the University of Bouake.
“Everyone has been expecting this,” Zina said. “The question is which PDCI ministers will be the first to go.”
The RDR and PDCI are the West African nation’s biggest political parties and derive their support from two of the nation’s main ethnic groups -- the Dioula who are viewed as northerners and the Baoule from the southeast.
Ouattara is hugely popular with northerners, and secured the backing of PDCI leader Henri Konan Bedie to win 84 percent of the vote in 2015. Last month, he hinted he may seek re-election, saying a constitution adopted in 2016 allows him to extend his rule.
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