Alassane Ouattara “Natural Candidate” for the 2025 Presidential Election in Ivory Coast?

27 May 2024 / Interviews

The ruling party in Ivory Coast, the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), affirmed on Monday that President Alassane Ouattara was their “natural candidate” for the 2025 presidential election. This statement, made by Gilbert Koné Kafana, chairman of the RHDP board, marks a clear call for a fourth term for Ouattara, although the latter has not yet officially announced his candidacy.

During a party meeting in Abidjan, Kafana underlined the importance of this candidacy by declaring: “What is at stake is the victory of our natural candidate (…) Alassane Ouattara in the 2025 presidential election ". He insisted that the RHDP's objective was to win the election in the first round, adding: "The best tribute that each district and each region must pay to the head of state is to give him a resounding victory in the next presidential election of 2025.”

Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, the RHDP spokesperson, reinforced this position by telling journalists after the meeting that the party would officially ask Ouattara to agree to be their candidate. “He is our candidate and it is the will of the party. We will go and ask him to accept,” he said.

Calls for Ouattara's candidacy have intensified in recent weeks within the RHDP. At the beginning of May, during a meeting at the Korhogo stadium, executives from the vast Savanes district, a stronghold of the party, had already urged the head of state to run again. This demonstration of support brought together tens of thousands of supporters as well as several ministers, illustrating the extent of support for a fourth term for Ouattara.

Alassane Ouattara, aged 82, has been in power since 2011. His potential candidacy for a new mandate, which would keep him at the head of Côte d'Ivoire until 2030, is a subject of intense debate. Some supporters believe his continued leadership is essential for the country's stability and prosperity, while others criticize the idea of ​​a fourth term, seeing it as a risk to Ivorian democracy.

The presidential election is scheduled for October 2025, and other political actors are also preparing for this crucial vote. Former president and now opponent Laurent Gbagbo, aged 78, was nominated by his political party, the African People's Party – Côte d'Ivoire (PPA-CI). However, his candidacy is currently compromised due to his ineligibility. Indeed, Gbagbo was convicted in 2018 for facts linked to the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, which makes him currently unable to run.

Furthermore, the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI), the main opposition party, has not yet designated its official candidate. However, the party is widely expected to rally behind its current president, 61-year-old Tidjane Thiam. Thiam, former managing director of Credit Suisse, enjoys a solid international reputation and could represent a significant alternative to Ouattara's candidacy.

As Côte d'Ivoire heads towards this electoral deadline, the political landscape remains marked by tensions and uncertainties. Ouattara's choice to run again or not could have profound consequences for the country, influencing not only the course of the electoral campaign but also the political and economic future of the nation.