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AFP
July 10, 2020

Ivory Coast stunned after PM’s sudden death

World

AFP
July 10, 2020

ABIDJAN: The West African state of Ivory Coast was plunged into disarray on Thursday after the sudden death of its prime minister, the front-runner in looming elections for the presidency. Commentators said the demise of Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who died after receiving heart treatment abroad, was a devastating blow to a country still scarred by a low-level civil war. “Ivory Coast in a state of shock,” headlined the daily L’Inter. “Thunderclap,” said Soir Info. “Sledgehammer blow,” said Fraternite Matin. Coulibaly was appointed prime minister in 2017, tasked with pursuing economic recovery in a country battered by slumping prices for its key exports of cocoa and coffee. The French-educated engineer gained a reputation for hard work and a fiery temper. The 61-year-old was named in March as the candidate for President Alassane Ouattara’s RHDP party in October’s presidentials, ending months of speculation that the 78-year-old incumbent would run again. Ouattara, to much surprise, signalled he would step down after two terms in office rather than campaign again. In 2011, Ouattara ousted the then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to leave office after losing elections. The months-long standoff claimed some 3,000 lives and left divisions that linger today.