On Monday, July 27, former Ivorian head of state Henri Konan Bédié was named presidential candidate on October 31 by his party, the PDCI, the heavyweight of the opposition in Côte d’Ivoire. At the age of 86, he was the only candidate for this convention, the only other candidate who had been repealed before the vote.
Former Ivorian head of state Henri Konan Bédié was nominated for the presidential election of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI, opposition) with 99.7% of the vote after a convention from this party, he announced on Monday in Abidjan.
The “preliminary results” of the delegates’ votes on Sunday “illuminate my election with a score of 99.7%. It is a real folbiskit”, he explained during a press conference at his home in Abidjan. , before I add: “The joy that animates me this day is enormous. I am happy and proud to have been elected a candidate for the PDCI.”
Driven by the power of a coup in 1999, Henri Konan Bédié is once again trying to take over the leadership of the country, despite criticism of his advanced age, 86, which he rather considers “an asset”.
Hans Konan Bédié, who got his name from his rare words and his enigmatic page “The Sphinx from Daoukro” – his stronghold in the Ivory Coast – was the only candidate for the former single party that ruled the country for three decades after independence, during the presidency of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, his mentor, who died in power at the age of 88.
“For us at PDCI, age is an asset. Age brings together experience and also competence,” he said on Sunday, questioned by journalists about the controversy over the advanced age of presidential candidates.
The person who will be the dean of the presidential election on October 31, ten years after the failure of the 2010 election, still claims to stand to defend “the new generations”. The octogenarian promises a “victory that will enable young people in Côte d’Ivoire to have access to full and complete responsibility in the management of public affairs”.
Other PDCI officials, in their fifties, who have considered or tried to run for office, withdrew in front of him, such as businessman Jean-Louis Billon. As for the candidate for Kouadio Konan Bertin, it was annulled by the Nomination Committee.
“HKB” had an early career. Born on May 5, 1934 in the village of Dadiékro, in the Baoulé country, in a family of cocoa planters, he became an ambassador at the age of 26 from a barely independent Ivory Coast, then Minister of Economy for 32 years by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, a Baoulé like him, and of which he claims to be the successor.
“He wants revenge”
His career was halted after allegations of corruption, but he recovered to become president of the National Assembly and establish himself as the natural dolphin of Houphouët-Boigny and control the PDCI without sharing.
After the death of his mentor in 1993, he succeeded him after a power struggle against Alassane Ouattara, the current president. Henri Konan Bédié then developed the nationalist concept “ivoirité”, which means that the four grandparents of an Ivorian were born in the country and that he must have lived there for the past five years to be eligible – maneuver intended to remove Alassane Ouattara from the presidential election 1995, then a senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and domiciled in the United States.
When the HKB elects, without any major opponent, surfs nationalism, but its presidency, undermined by corruption, collapses in a matter of hours at Christmas 1999 in the face of a mutiny of soldiers transformed into a military coup, the first in history from the country.
“Today he wants his revenge on this coup that he mismanaged. He also wants his revenge on Ouattara, which he supported (2010) but who according to him did not respect his commitment to return power in PDCI 2020. He does not want to stay remains in history as the one who lost power in the PDCI from Houphouët, “said one observer.
Lovers of cigars and fine wines, HKB, which many describe as “very close to his pennies”, had indeed allied itself with its former enemy in 2005 to create an electoral alliance, the Rassemblement des houphouëtistes pour la democratie et la paix (RHDP).
Third in the 2010 presidential election behind Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, Henri Konan Bédié remains committed and actively supports the latter during the post-election crisis (2010-2011), which killed almost 3,000 people in a few months.
After a honeymoon (Alassane Ouattara even had the third bridge in Abidjan named Bédié) with the head of state, whom he still supports in the 2015 presidential election, HKB lost with him again in 2018, due to the presidential election next October.
Once Bédié has officially been invested by his party, he will need to convince voters in the October presidential election that he is 86 years old, not too old to lead the country.