Laurent Gbagbo vows to “play politics until his death”, but will also prepare for his departure

Gbagbo is back, “said the editorial of the Original Way, a weekly close to the former head of state, on Tuesday. In a meeting atmosphere, the launching congress of the Party of African Peoples – Côte d’Ivoire (PPA-CI) has indeed dedicated this weekend the return of Laurent Gbagbo to the forefront of the Ivorian political scene. At 76, he is again president of an opposition political party, “on the left” and with “pan-Africanist” ambitions. Enough to spice up Ivorian political life, largely dominated for ten years by the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la paix (RHDP), the party of President Alassane Ouattara.

Questions for the future

“We will see if their ambition is to be an opposition like the one we have known in the past, with daily monitoring of government action, a call for marches, meetings, or if they will be in a salon opposition posture, ”underlines political analyst Sylvain N’Guessan. At first glance, Laurent Gbagbo is still preparing for a new political fight, with the 2025 presidential election in the sights.

But does he really still have the cards in hand to decide his political future? The executive’s plan to lower the presidential age limit to 75 could thwart his ambitions. “He is no longer in control of his own destiny since if the ruling party, which has a majority in the National Assembly, decides to change the Constitution, his presidential ambitions are over. He tries to galvanize his activists while knowing that the rest does not depend on him “, points out Sylvain N’Guessan.

What about Gbagbo’s ambitions?

And Sunday, he cleverly maintained the vagueness of his personal ambitions. “I will be in politics until my death”, first launched the one who returned to Côte d’Ivoire in mid-June, acquitted by international justice of crimes against humanity in the post-electoral crisis of 2010 -2011. “My ambition today is to leave. At this age, after this journey, wisdom is to prepare to leave “, he then asserted, assuring that the party he has just taken the head is a” structure to prepare (his ) withdrawal “. “How can we leave tomorrow and not cause damage to our combat instrument?” Asked the former president, who promises not to leave “abruptly”.

For 2025, “I’m not excluding anything”
Tuesday evening, on France 24, Laurent Gbagbo remained just as evasive about his intentions. Asked about his candidacy for 2025, he replied “I don’t know! “. “There are times when certain burdens come upon you. I’m not excluding anything, ”he added. “He hasn’t set a date! He suggests that he will need time to train his staff, “said Sylvain N’Guessan. After a congress this weekend, where his person was at the heart of every intervention, it’s hard to imagine for the moment the brand new PPA-CI living without Gbagbo. “To be honest, Laurent Gbagbo’s new party is nothing other than his former Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) presented in a new envelope,” tackles the close-to-power columnist Venance Konan in Fraternité Matin. It remains to be seen the scale of the militant base that will follow him, since his break with the FPI, his historic party, now in the hands of his ex-Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan. “We have turned the page on these attempts at unity, the break has been made and everyone is on their way,” said the latter, Monday on TV5.

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