ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast’s vice president has submitted his resignation less than a week after the prime minister died, officials said Monday, throwing the West African country’s political scene into further disarray three months before pivotal national elections.
Daniel Kablan Duncan had been appointed to the position by President Alassane Ouattara three years ago. The 77-year-old vice president cited personal reasons for his decision, the presidency said without releasing further details.
President Alassane Ouattara praised him as “a man of duty and commitment.”
Duncan was the first to serve as vice president, a post created by Ivory Coast’s new constitution in 2016. He had previously served twice as prime minister — from 1993 to 1999, and again from 2012 to 2017.
The resignation comes less than a week after Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died in Abidjan. Coulibaly was the president’s chosen successor as the ruling party’s presidential candidate in the October elections.
Ouattara’s party has been in power since post-election violence a decade ago killed some 3,000 people after then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge his defeat in a runoff vote.
Initially, there was speculation that Ouattara would try to extend his rule, but eventually he said in March that he would not run and threw his support behind Coulibaly. The death of his party’s candidate could now force him to reconsider.
The only other declared candidates for the October election are 86-year-old former President Henri Konan Bedie and ex-Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who is unlikely to return to the country anytime soon after being sentenced to 20 years in prison in absentia on charges his supporters say were brought to derail his candidacy.