ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara plans to name a new government on Tuesday after dissolving its predecessor because of a row within his ruling coalition, three government sources told Reuters on Friday.
Two sources close to the president and one in Ouattara’s RDR party also said discussions between the RDR and its coalition partner, the PDCI of former president Henri Konan Bedie, had begun on Friday in a bid to resolve their differences.
Decades of growing lucrative cash crops and foreign investment has enabled Ivory Coast to become one of Francophone Africa’s most prosperous economies, but political squabbling periodically saps its stability.
Besides Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the entire government has been vacant since Ouattara dissolved it on Wednesday, including the posts of finance and defence minister.
As well as supplying more than a third of the world’s cocoa, Ivory Coast has attracted large foreign investment in infrastructure and has a solid presence in international debt markets, with another Eurobond in the pipeline.
Ouattara won a run-off in 2010 and re-election in 2015, thanks in part to former President Henri Konan Bedie’s PDCI party, whose members were rewarded with government jobs.
But the two fell out over PDCI’s insistence on a candidate of its choosing in the 2020 election. The party last month spurned the idea of a joint ticket if this condition isn’t met.
Term limits appear to prevent Ouattara from standing for a third term, but he upset the PDCI last month when he said he is able to run again under a new 2016 constitution.
Ivory Coast’s combustible mix of land conflicts and high immigration from its poorer, drier neighbours make its political disputes dangerous. It was divided for nearly a decade between a government south and rebel-held north, ending in a short civil war that killed 3,000 people after 2010’s disputed poll.
Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg