A page in Côte d’Ivoire’s political history is being turned. Former president Henri Konan Bédié died at the age of 89 in a private hospital in Abidjan, a member of his party’s communications team announced on Tuesday evening.
“He died at the Polyclinique Internationale Sainte Anne-Marie (PISAM),” said the source. On Tuesday evening, a crowd began to form outside his residence in Abidjan.
Head of state from 1993 to 1999, Henri Konan Bédié had not ruled out running in the next presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire. At the end of March, he was nominated as the sole candidate to succeed him as president of the Parti démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) – the main opposition movement and party of Côte d’Ivoire’s first president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny – whose election is scheduled for the party’s next congress in June.
l had called at the end of March for his party members to unite to win the next presidential election in 2025, which will follow the municipal and regional elections scheduled for September 2. Henri Konan Bédié was also nominated as a candidate for the last presidential election in 2020. A former single party, the PDCI was in power from 1960, when Côte d’Ivoire gained independence, until 1999, when former president Bédié was overthrown by a coup d’état.
Born on May 5, 1934 in the central village of Dadiékro into a family of cocoa farmers, “HKB” saw himself as the heir and successor to Houphouët-Boigny, an ethnic Baoule like himself. Once allied with President Alassane Ouattara, who was first elected in 2010, Henri Konan Bédié returned to the opposition in 2018, where he drew closer to the supporters of Laurent Gbagbo. Appointed ambassador at the age of 26, Minister of the Economy at 32, he was known for his nationalist and even xenophobic concept of “Ivoirité”.