Returning to Côte d'Ivoire after more than twenty years in exile, former minister Tidjane Thiam met with the country's main political figures. In view of the presidential election of 2025?
For several months now, he has been the thorn in the side of future Ivorian presidential candidates in 2025. While he tried for a while to position himself for the 2020 election, without ever formalizing his candidacy, Tidjane Thiam now seems to be preparing for the next election. Although lately he had devoted himself to business rather than politics. Thiam has, however, a major problem: he is accused of not knowing the realities in Côte d'Ivoire. After about a quarter of a century in exile, the banker only set foot in Abidjan again this week.
Tidjane Thiam arrived in Côte d'Ivoire two days ago. He was supposed to arrive more than a week before, but his return had finally been delayed. A trip that did not go unnoticed: the investment banker was immediately received by Alassane Ouattara, in the private residence of the latter. The two men know each other well: in March, "ADO" had thought of Thiam for the post of Prime Minister. But the banker had finally stayed away from political affairs.
Reconciliation with the Ouattara camp
This does not mean that Tidjane Thiam is no longer interested in a presidential candidacy. But the former adviser to Macron does not see himself coming back and losing. He therefore began negotiations with all sides. First with the Presidency of the Republic. At the beginning of last October, the Ivorian First Lady, Dominique Ouattara, met him to relaunch the dialogue. Because Ouattara did not really appreciate Thiam's criticism of human rights abuses during the elections.
Another camp to keep an eye on in Thiam: the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI-RDA) of Henri Konan Bédié. Whereas Jean-Louis Billon is already defending the colors of his party, he knows that Thiam is a danger. If he assures, in off, that the banker no longer knows, after having been away from the country for a long time, Côte d'Ivoire and does not have sufficient networks, the possibility of Thiam's candidacy begins to frighten. Especially since Thiam and HKB speak to each other regularly.
The heir of Konan Bédié?
Yesterday, Tidjane Thiam even made an appointment in Daoukro, the village of Bédié. It was, of course, a question of the legacy of the PDCI. Because the mother of the banker being none other than the niece of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Thiam wants to rely on his family past to play a role within the party founded by the Father of the Ivorian nation. It remains to be seen what this role will be. Because Thiam does not forbid anything. He even planned an interview with Laurent Gbagbo.
Enough to reveal two options as to Thiam's future role in Côte d'Ivoire: the former banker could run for the post of President of the Republic for one of the main Houphouëtist parties - the PDCI-RDA or the Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour democracy and peace (RHDP) of Alassane Ouattara. But he could also try to play a role of sage. And it is not Thiam's silence about his political ambitions that will help to know which option he is headed for.