Bloomberg News

Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Rewards Allies in Government, ICG Says

June 02, 2011

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast’s president, Alassane Ouattara, is rewarding the allies that stood by him during a post-election crisis with key posts being handed to an opposition coalition, said Gilles Yabi, West Africa director of the International Crisis Group.

The new cabinet is “not really a government of reconciliation” with no appointees from the party former leader Laurent Gbagbo, Yabi said by phone from Paris today. The list “reflects a willingness to express gratitude to those politicians who have helped contribute to Ouattara’s victory.”

Ouattara was sworn in on May 21, taking power almost six months after a disputed election where Gbagbo, who ruled the world’s top cocoa producer for a decade, refused to cede power. At estimated 2,000 people were killed in clashes, according to the United Nations, before Gbagbo’s April 11 capture eased the crisis.

Gbagbo’s Front Populaire Ivoirien will not take part in Ouattara’s administration until the former leader and his aides are released, Mamadou Koulibaly, a senior party member, said on May 25.

Ouattara retained Guillaume Soro and prime minister and Charles Koffi Diby as finance minister, according to a statement handed to reporters yesterday in Abidjan, the commercial capital. The agriculture ministry, which oversees the cocoa industry, will be headed by Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly.

Opposition Rewarded

The smaller opposition Parti Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire was rewarded with posts at ministries including foreign affairs and economic infrastructure, said Samir Gadio, emerging markets strategist with Standard Bank Plc.

“This is a relatively inclusive government,” he said in an e-mail.

The PDCI ruled Ivory Coast from when it attained independence from colonial ruler France in 1960 until 1999. Its candidate in the first round of last year’s presidential election, Henri Konan Bedie, threw his support behind Ouattara in the November runoff.

The 36-member administration will need to address continuing insecurity in the country and reunification of a nation split since between a government-held south and rebel- controlled north following a 2002 army mutiny. The northerners supported Ouattara in the post-election fighting.

“Ivory Coast is still in a critical and very fragile phase, at least until the legislative elections that are planned for the end of the year,” said Yabi.

Cocoa for July delivery fell for a second day, declining 7 pounds or 0.4 percent to 1,807 pounds per metric ton by 2:02 p.m. in London on the NYSE Liffe market.

Ivory Coast’s defaulted $2.3 billion Eurobonds rallied for a second day, increasing 0.7 percent to 55.667 cents on the dollar as of 2:04 p.m. in London, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Antony Sguazzin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pauline Bax in Abidjan via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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