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Côte d'Ivoire

President's party nominates Gbagbo for another term

Article published on the 2008-08-31 Latest update 2008-09-01 15:46 TU

Participants hold banners during FPI convention in Yamousoukro (Photo: Reuters)

Participants hold banners during FPI convention in Yamousoukro
(Photo: Reuters)

The Ivorian Popular Front of President Laurent Gbagbo on Saturday nominated him to stand again to lead the country at an enthusiastic party conference in the political capital, Yamoussoukro. Party leaders say that Gbagbo will officially declare his intentions in October, ahead of a long-postponed poll now set for November.

Gbagbo was chosen unopposed by more than 3,000 delegates at a noisy gathering  which saw the president's wife, Simone, dance on stage and crowds chanting the leader's name.

Gbagbo himself was not present, saying that he preferred to let the delegates decide of their own free will.

"We need a leader, a guide, someone to make our dreams happen tomorrow. It's a mission we have entrusted him with," said FPI chair Pascal Affi N'Guessan.

"Confirmation that Laurent Gbagbo will represent his party in the coming presidential election means that a frequently postponed exercise is starting to look a bit more substantial," says RFI's French service correspondent Norbert Navarro.

But, he adds, "Many people believe it is impossible to organise on the planned date."

Two opposition candidates have already declared they will stand - former President Henri Konan Bedié and ex-Prime Minister Alassane Outtara.

Bedié told RFI that the FPI will indulge in vote fraud but declared, "I'm standing to win."

Under a 2007 peace deal that ended the partition of the country by a civil war, a voter-identification process is supposed to issue digital identity cards.

Gbagbo and former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, who is now prime minister, disagreed on how many voters are likely to be elegible.

In July, the UN Security Council approved a French-drafted resolution extending the mandate of UN and French peacekeepers until 31 January 2009, arguing that their presence would help safeguard the electoral process.