President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara has said that he will run for a third term in office in October.
The 76 year old has formally accepted the ruling party’s nomination to be its candidate, rejecting calls from his critics including the opposition not to do so.
The president told public broadcaster RTI that “I am a candidate in the presidential election of October 31. I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens.”
At a convention in Abidjan last month the ruling party said it wanted Ouattara, to run again for a third term.
By asking President Alassane Ouattara to seek re-election, Ivory Coast’s ruling party appeared to be trying to resolve a looming political crisis.
President Ouattara had announced that he would not be seeking a third term in office, saying he wanted the new generation to take over.
The man who was picked to run on the ticket of the ruling party, Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly suddenly died earlier this month.
Ouattara said in a televised speech that “I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens. Given my previous promise, this decision represents a real sacrifice for me.”
The opposition has said that Ouattara’s decision to run again violates the two-term limit in the constitution.
President Ouattara however said his first two terms do not count under the new constitution adopted in 2016.
October’s election will be a crucial test for Ivory Coast since a brief civil war in 2010 and 2011 that killed about 3,000 people following a disputed election.