Bloomberg News

Ivory Coast President Dissolves Government After Law Opposed

November 14, 2012

Prime Minister Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou

Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou, a 61-year-old lawyer, was named prime minister of Ivory Coast last March, replacing Guillaume Soro at the head of the government. Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The president of Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, dissolved the government after members of the ruling coalition opposed a new law. Cocoa prices jumped the most in two months in London.

The Parti Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire, or PDCI, and the Union pour la Démocratie et la Paix en Côte d’Ivoire, or UDPCI, yesterday rejected a bill proposing that women have the same rights as men to head a family, said Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the general secretary of the presidency.

“Some members of the ruling coalition voted against a bill submitted by the government,” Gon Coulibaly told reporters today in Abidjan, the commercial capital. “This raises an issue regarding the support of the coalition for the government.”

Ivory Coast, which produces about a third of the world’s cocoa, is recovering from violence that left at least 3,000 dead following ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to Alassane Ouattara after a November 2010 election. Ouattara was inaugurated in May 2011.

Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou, a 61-year-old lawyer, was named prime minister of Ivory Coast in March, when Guillaume Soro resigned as the head of the government. Ahoussou’s PDCI backed Ouattara in the election.

“The president of the republic is in touch with the heads of the political parties belonging to the RHDP coalition, Gon Coulibaly said. ‘‘The formation of a new government will take the time needed for consultation with the parties of the coalition.’’

Cocoa Surges

While there have been ‘‘rumors of a cabinet reshuffle,’’ the move today was a surprise, Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist with Standard Bank Plc, said by phone. ‘‘It would seem incongruous that the president dissolves the government only because a bill hasn’t been voted by the parties of the coalition,’’ he said.

Ouattara may want to ‘‘revitalize the composition of the team in charge of the implementation of his development program’’ and bring in ‘‘some members of the opposition to build a more inclusive government,’’ Gadio said. Talks among coalition members ‘‘show there is no major political crisis,’’ he said.

Cocoa for March delivery rose 2.8 percent to 1,592 pounds ($2,524) a metric ton by 5:48 p.m. on NYSE Liffe in London. Earlier today, the contract gained as much as 3.3 percent, the most since Aug. 28.

The beans represent 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and generated $1.6 billion in exports in 2010, or 35 percent of state revenue, according to Maplecroft, a risk analysis company based in Bath, U.K.

Yields Rise

Ivory Coast’s $2.3 billion of international bonds due 2032 dropped 1 percent to 87.583 cents on the dollar, the lowest since Oct. 11, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields rose 11 basis points to 7.3 percent.

‘‘There were first some concerns among investors following the announcement, but it was more a misconception and the market has calmed since,” Gadio said.

The bill that the PDCI and UDPCI opposed was still passed by the parliament’s General and Institutional Affairs Commission, with 18 votes in favor, 12 against and four abstentions, Nouveau Reveil newspaper reported. It will be presented to the full legislative body on Nov. 16, according to the Abidjan-based newspaper.

To contact the reporters on this story: Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at bmieu@bloomberg.net; Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net


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