Ivory Coast ex-president Laurent Gbagbo has proposed setting up a new political party, his Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), which is suffering deep internal divisions, said on Monday.
Speaking at a meeting of FPI leaders, Gbagbo hit out at his former prime minister, Pascal Affi N’Guessan, who heads one of the factions, and proposed “creating a new instrument of struggle in line with our ideology and ambitions”, the party said in a statement.
68-year-old Affi N’Guessan, leads a so-called “legal” faction — a term that stems from the judicial authorities’ acknowledgement of his position as party president in 2015.
The other side is the so-called “GOR” faction — from the French words meaning “Gbagbo Or Nothing” — backed by grassroots members who fervently support the former president.
Gbagbo, who was in power from 2000-11, dramatically returned to Ivorian politics in June after being acquitted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague of crimes against humanity arising from post-election violence in 2010-2011.
During his years in prison in The Hague, a deep rift developed in the FPI, which Gbagbo founded in 1982. Many attempts to bridge the rift following Gbagbo’s return have failed, and last week the “legal” faction mounted a rearguard action after Gbagbo convened a top level meeting of the party leadership.
The faction claimed that Gbagbo, despite his status as a “founder member of the party”, was not the current president of it.