Ivory Coast president to run for 3rd term amid objections

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara says he has accepted the ruling party’s nomination and will run for a third term in October.

Ouattara announced the decision Thursday night on the eve of Ivory Coast’s 60th anniversary of independence from France.

The ruling party nominated Ouattara last week. Its previous nominee, Prime Minister Amadou Coulibaly, died in July from a heart attack.

“I have decided to respond favorably to the requests of my fellow citizens,” Ouattara said in a televised speech. “I am a candidate for the presidential election of Oct. 31.”

Ouattara had promised in March not to run again. However, on Thursday he said the death of his prime minister “leaves a void in the team that I had put in place.”

Ouattara’s main challenger, opposition candidate Henri Konan Bedie, who was president from 1993 to 1999, has told France 24 that Ouattara’s candidacy would be “illegal.”

Pascal Affi N’Guessan, the candidate for former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party, also expressed reservations about Ouattara’s candidacy, saying his mandate ends in 2020, according to the country’s fundamental law which limits presidential terms to two.

Ouattara has argued that with changes made to the constitution in 2016, his previous terms do not count toward the two-term limit.

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