Supporters of Côte d'Ivoire ex-leader Gbagbo to file his election candidacy

Former Côte d'Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo attends a pre-trial hearing on charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, The Netherlands, on February 19, 2013.

Photo credit: File | AFP

Supporters of former Côte d'Ivoire president Laurent Gbagbo, who lives in Europe after being tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Wednesday they would file a candidacy in his name for October's election.

A pro-Gbagbo coalition called Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS) said in a statement "it will submit president Laurent Gbagbo's candidacy, in line with scheduled procedures".

Gbagbo's return to national politics is highly sensitive.

The country remains scarred by a conflict that erupted after presidential elections in 2010 when he refused to hand over to the winner, Alassane Ouattara, who is president today. Around 3,000 people lost their lives in several months of violence.

Gbagbo, 75, was freed conditionally by the ICC after he was cleared in 2019 of crimes against humanity.

He is living in Brussels pending the outcome of an appeal against that decision. In the meantime, he can travel, provided that the country of destination accepts him.

He has not made any public statement about whether he wishes to run again.

Candidates for the October 31 elections have until midnight next Monday to file their bid, and do not have to be present physically to do so, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), Ibrahime Coulibaly-Kuibiert, told AFP.

Ouattara, 78, who has controversially declared he will seek a third term in office, has already filed his candidacy.

Former president Henri Konan Bedie, 86, who also contested the 2010 elections, is expected to submit his candidacy on Thursday.

The EDS includes a hardline pro-Gbagbo faction within his Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), which has been deeply split by the upcoming election.

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