Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara to meet predecessor and rival Laurent Gbagbo

Photo: Leo Correa/AP

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattra is set to meet with his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, marking their first discussions since the latter’s return to the country from a ten-year exile on June 17th.

Ouattra defeated Gbagbo in a contested 2010 presidential election that saw 3,000 deaths after violence broke out following the disputed results. As a result, Gbagbo was exiled from the country and tried at the International Criminal Court on charges of inciting violence and humanitarian abuses. In March of this year, Gbagbo was acquitted of his charges.

Since his return, Gbagbo has been in the center of the Ivorian political conversation, giving multiple speeches and meeting with key members of Ouattra’s opposition. Although today’s meeting is widely viewed as a symbolic reconciliation, expect Gbagbo to continue to drum up support for his likely return to national politics. Most notably, Gbagbo has been building an alliance with the current opposition leader, Henri Konan Bédié signaling a desire to continue his fight against Ouattara, who won a controversial third term last year that was also marred by political violence. Thus, mounting a viable opposition against the incumbent President in the medium-term could foreshadow further unrest come election time.

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