Lhe decision had been awaited by observers of the Ivorian political scene for several months already. Finally, it fell on Wednesday April 13: Prime Minister Patrick Achi, appointed more than a year ago, following the dazzling death of Hamed Bakayoko, presented his resignation as well as that of the members of his government to the end of the Council of Ministers, led by the Head of State, at the presidential palace in Abidjan-Plateau.
A new team “strengthened by about thirty members” – against 41 today – should be appointed next week to better take into account “the global economic situation”, said President Alassane Ouattara, accepting the resignation of the president. government team. “In order to strengthen the effectiveness of government action and to take into account the current global economic situation, I have decided to reduce the number of government ministers,” declared President Ouattara. “Indeed, it is imperative to reduce state spending while redirecting it towards social and security resilience,” he added.
In the meantime, the Ivorian Head of State paid tribute to the action of his Prime Minister “throughout the past year, despite the particular conditions linked to the pandemic (of Covid-19) and ‘a complex regional security context, you have shown commitment and determination,” he said. It should be remembered that Patrick Achi was appointed in March 2021 after the death of his predecessor, Hamed Bakayoko, from cancer, who had himself succeeded Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who died in July 2020. Métis born on November 17 1955 in Paris of an Ivorian father from the south of the country and a French mother, he is a defector from the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), a former single party now the main opposition party. At the head of his government, the former head of government notably led political dialogue with the opposition, two and a half months of debate to “strengthen democratic culture”, after the electoral violence in the 2020 presidential election which had 85 dead and 500 injured.
The announcement of the resignation of the entire government comes in a particular political context where all eyes are on the next elections, including the municipal elections of 2023, and especially the presidential election of 2025.
A country facing serious challenges
Like many countries on the continent, Côte d’Ivoire is facing inflation in the prices of basic necessities which is hitting the poorest households, a situation recently aggravated by the war in Ukraine. The world’s largest cocoa producer, Côte d’Ivoire imports foodstuffs such as rice and wheat. The government has taken strong measures to limit the damage and last month capped the prices of around twenty products such as rice and sugar.
In addition, the country is also facing the jihadist threat in its northern part coming from its neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso, plagued for several years by violence from groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The government, which has already launched a vast social aid plan for young people in these border regions, intends to go further and therefore needs to mobilize funds.
The big maneuvers for 2025 have in any case begun
The question now is whether Patrick Achi will be reappointed next week. The agenda for the next few days will be decisive. On Tuesday, President Ouattara brings together parliamentarians in congress in the political capital Yamoussoukro for a speech on the state of the Nation. According to the online news site Africa Intelligence, the head of state could soon announce the appointment of a vice-president, a post provided for by the Constitution, but vacant for nearly two years. Patrick Achi, whose relations are good with the Ivorian president, could inherit this post. “This may be an opportune moment for Mr. Ouattara to reshuffle the cards by positioning several lieutenants: a vice-president, a prime minister, a secretary general at the presidency, even if it means observing later which one is the most presidential,” said told AFP, political scientist Sylvain N’Guessan.
The next elections in Côte d’Ivoire, municipal and regional, must be held in 2023. The presidential election must take place in 2025. The question of the succession of Alassane Ouattara is already being posed in the ranks of the presidential party, although whether the president has yet to officially rule on whether or not he wants to run for a fourth term. On April 4, the independent deputy Antoine Assalé Tiémoko tabled two bills before the Assembly, one of which caused a lot of reaction since it is a question of fixing the maximum age of eligibility for the presidential election at 75 years. The second text aims to modify the electoral code and make the obligation to declare the assets of elected officials more binding. If the first text were adopted, it could disqualify the main political leaders of the country. What are the current President Ouattara and his two predecessors, Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié, who will be respectively 83 years old, 79 years old and 90 years old at the next election, in 2025.