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Ivory Coast president pardons predecessor Gbagbo to improve “social cohesion”

Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo speaks through the second day of the meeting to launch the forming of a fresh political party at the Sofitel hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast October 17, 2021. Reuters/Luc Gnago/File Photo

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ABIDJAN, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Saturday said he previously offered a presidential pardon to longtime rival Laurent Gbagbo, within a reconciliation drive along with his predecessors before elections in 2025.

Gbagbo, president from 2000-2011, returned to Ivory Coast this past year after being acquitted in 2019 by the Hague on war crimes costs for his role in a civil war sparked by his refusal to concede defeat following the 2010 election.

Back, he still faced a 20-year prison sentence for a 2019 conviction from the robbery of funds from the Abidjan central bank through the post-election period. He’s got always denied the charges.

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“To be able to further strengthen social cohesion, I’ve signed a decree granting a presidential pardon to Laurent Gbagbo,” Ouattara said in a televised speech to the country before its independence day on Sunday.

He said he previously also asked for Gbagbo’s accounts to be unfrozen and for the payment of the arrears of his presidential lifetime annuity.

Your choice follows a rare meeting in July between Ouattara, Gbagbo, and former president Henri Konan Bedie. read more

The trio have dominated Ivory Coast’s fractious political scene because the 1990s. Bedie was president from 1993 until his ouster in a 1999 coup. Gbagbo governed from 2000 until his election defeat to Ouattara in 2010.

Tensions found a head most dramatically following the 2010 election. Gbagbo refused to concede defeat, resulting in a short civil war that killed about 3,000 people before rebel forces aligned with Ouattara swept in to the main city Abidjan.

Ouattara has presided over relative stability during his decade in power. But a large number of individuals were killed in clashes that broke out round the 2020 election, when he stood for a third term that Gbagbo and Bedie said was unconstitutional.

The president have not yet said whether he plans to perform for a fourth term in 2025. He’s got said he’d prefer to step down but additionally suggested he’d need Gbagbo and Bedie to invest in withdrawing from politics to carry out so.

They will have not far indicated what their plans are.

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Editing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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