Mamadou Koulibaly, the interim head of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo’s party, has announced that he was breaking with the political faction because they refused to accept change and has also said he planned to join a new party. Koulibaly, the speaker of Ivory Coast’s national assembly who became interim head of the Ivorian People’s Front (FPI) after the fall of Gbagbo, made the announcement to reporters in Abidjan. Gbagbo was arrested on April 11 four months after a bloody leadership struggle sparked by his refusal to accept defeat in last November’s presidential election won by his rival Alassane Ouattara.Koulibaly said he would serve in a new party to be called “Freedom and Democracy for the Republic” ahead of legislative elections scheduled for late this year. “Following the cataclysm we have just gone through, the FPI senior executive still refuses to hold a congress to take stock and rules out any change which it believes could weaken it,” he added. Saying the FPI leadership views any change of direction as “a betrayal of jailed and exiled comrades,”
Koulibaly said its real aim was to “preserve personal domains to the detriment of the general interest and to mask its own betrayal of our militants, our ideals, Ivory Coast and the African cause.” The FPI’s nominal head, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, is under house arrest in the north of the country along with Gbagbo and his wife Simone as well as 12 of their associates. Twenty-four officials of the ousted regime were also jailed in the northern town of Boundiali after being charged with embezzlement and threat to state security. Koulibaly had made waves within the FPI by sharply criticising Gbagbo’s handling of the recent leadership crisis as well as the party’s conduct during its years in power (2000-2011).
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