ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara says he has accepted the ruling party´s nomination and will run for a third term in October.
Ouattara announced the decision Thursday night on the eve of Ivory Coast´s 60th anniversary of independence from France.
The ruling party nominated Ouattara last week. Its previous nominee, Prime Minister Amadou Coulibaly, died in July from a heart attack.
“I have decided to respond favorably to the requests of my fellow citizens,” Ouattara said in a televised speech. “I am a candidate for the presidential election of Oct. 31.”
Ouattara had promised in March not to run again. However, on Thursday he said the death of his prime minister “leaves a void in the team that I had put in place.”
Ouattara´s main challenger, opposition candidate Henri Konan Bedie, who was president from 1993 to 1999, has told France 24 that Ouattara´s candidacy would be “illegal.”
Pascal Affi N´Guessan, the candidate for former President Laurent Gbagbo´s Ivorian Popular Front party, also expressed reservations about Ouattara´s candidacy, saying his mandate ends in 2020, according to the country´s fundamental law which limits presidential terms to two.
Ouattara has argued that with changes made to the constitution in 2016, his previous terms do not count toward the two-term limit.