Abidjan – A congress to launch Ivorian ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s new party will take place in Abidjan on October 16 and 17, its organising committee said on Friday.
Committee official Sebastien Danon Djedje said “1 600 delegates are expected” for the gathering, which will formally establish the party.
Gbagbo unveiled his plans for a new political vehicle in August – a move that commentators see as a precursor for another run at the presidency in 2025.
Gbagbo’s time in office, from 2000-2011, was a time of turbulence and division in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer.
He was removed from office in April 2011 after a short civil war that claimed around 3 000 lives, sparked by his refusal to accept electoral defeat by the current president, Alassane Ouattara.
He was then flown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity resulting from the conflict.
But he was eventually acquitted and returned to Ivory Coast this June.
Since then, he has been cast in the role of statesman in a country buffetted by political turmoil during elections last year, although many have suspected he harbours political ambitions.
Gbagbo had founded the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) in 1982, but during his time abroad the party split in two.
One faction is headed by its officially acknowledged president, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, 68, who served as prime minister under Gbagbo.
The other comprises grassroots loyalists known as GOR, the French acronym for Gbagbo Or Nothing.
In August, Gbagbo accused Affi N’Guessan of having “confiscated” the FPI.
He said he would “leave Affi with the envelope” of the party while he and his supporters would “take the contents.”
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