- Bakayoko, the new prime minister, is a former radio and newspaper executive.
- Bakayoko was being highly considered as a possible replacement for Gon Coulibaly as the rulling party’s new presidential candidate.
- The 55-year-old Bakayoko is considered a populist and a flamboyant politician known for organizing political demonstrations where money is distributed.
The president of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, appointed the country’s minister of defense, Hamed Bakayoko, as the country’s new prime minister today, after the sudden death of his predecessor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly. The former prime minister’s death threw the ruling party into chaos.
Côte d’Ivoire is scheduled to hold a presidential election in October. Ouattara had announced that he wasn’t going to run for another presidential term. Bakayoko, the new prime minister, is a former radio and newspaper executive, and just like Coulibaly, he is also a longtime friend and ally of Ivory Coast’s president.
Bakayoko was being highly considered as a possible replacement for Gon Coulibaly as the rulling party’s new presidential candidate. However, on July 29, the ruling party formally asked Ouattara to run again, stating that he is the best bet to keep the party united and beat the opposition in the forthcoming elections. Analysts predict that it will be hotly contested.
The 55-year-old Bakayoko is considered a populist and a flamboyant politician known for organizing political demonstrations where money is distributed. The new premier will, however, maintain his cabinet portfolio as defense minister even as he serves as the country’s new premier, as clarified by the presidency.
President Ouattara had handpicked Coulibaly as the ruling party’s presidential candidate after he made an announcement to the effect that he won’t be running for a third presidential term.
The Ouattara-led Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) has been in power for about 10 years, after the country’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, was forced out of power after he refused to accept Ouattara’s victory in the country’s November 2010 presidential election.
Coulibaly’s death has created enormous uncertainty about the future of the elections in Ivory Coast, and is likely to increase tensions within the RHDP party as the appointment of the new presidential candidate. Prior to his death, Coulibaly had returned to Ivory Coast after two months in France for medical checks.
“I am back to take my place by the side of the president, to continue the task of developing and building our country,” said the prime minister when he arrived at Abidjan airport on July 2nd.
A Father of five, and an engineer by profession, Coulibaly enjoyed a good reputation thanks to his hard work and strong character, which led him to earn the nickname “the lion of Korhogo,” his hometown. The man exerted a great influence among the traditional leaders of the Senoufo ethical group, from which he came.
Critics, however, argued that he lacked the charisma to become future president. The numerous positions that he had held since he began his political career alongside Ouattara in 1994 included that of technical consultant, senior official, vice and mayor of Korhogo, minister of agriculture, and finally prime minister before he died in office.