Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara decided to pardon Laurent Gbagbo this weekend. The former head of state can now focus on politics.
La 2025 Ivorian presidential is it definitively launched? Last weekend, during ceremonies commemorating the 62nd anniversary of Côte d'Ivoire's independence, President Alassane Ouattara announced that he had “signed a decree granting presidential pardon to Mr. Laurent Gbagbo”. An act made, in the words of the Head of State, "in order to strengthen social cohesion".
During the 2020 presidential election and after the poll was held, tension was palpable in Côte d'Ivoire. And while Laurent Gbagbo, acquitted by the International Criminal Court, had expressed his desire to return to Abidjan, Ouattara had created a post of Minister of National Reconciliation in December 2020.
A year and a half later, therefore, the decision of “ADO” is more than symbolic. First of all, it participates in this declared will, on the part of Ouattara, of reconciliation. The talks between Gbagbo and Ouattara have, it seems, resulted in this desire on the part of the presidential palace to reset the counters to zero.
Gbagbo on his way to 2025
Despite Alassane Ouattara's announcement, however, no acts of love between the president and his predecessor should be expected. During the big parade this Sunday, in Yamoussoukro, Laurent Gbagbo was also not present, yet invited by Ouattara. Just like Henri Konan Bédié, by the way.
In addition to its symbolic nature, the presidential pardon also rules out any possible sanction against former President Gbagbo: while he faced a 20-year prison sentence, pronounced when he was already in ICC jails, Gbagbo does not risk nothing more in Ivory Coast. Even if he had, in any case, never been worried by the police since his return to the country.
Financially, it's a relief for Gbagbo. It will be, according to Ouattara, "proceeded with the unfreezing of its accounts and the payment of its arrears of life annuities". For many months, the issue of compensation due to former presidents, not paid until then, had been the subject of discussions between the Ouattara and Gbagbo camps.
But what is important is that Laurent Gbagbo will probably be able to participate in the next presidential election in 2025. After the launch, in October 2021, of the African Peoples' Party-Côte d'Ivoire (PPA-CI), Laurent Gbagbo and his lieutenants have already shown their ambitions: the former Ivorian president still wants to count in the political life of his country. Between Ouattara, Bédié and Gbagbo, aged 80, 88 and 77 respectively, the battle began with friendly discussions. But we should quickly witness a real political opposition between the three men.