Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara is in favor of “handing over to the new generation” in next year’s presidential polls, but did not rule out running in the election.
The 78-year-old, who has just over a year left of his second term in office, was addressing reporters in his hometown of Dimbroko after a four-day visit to the surrounding region.
Ouattara addressed plans to amend the constitution to include an age limit for presidential hopefuls, saying “it’s part of the evolution of our country,” Seventy-five percent of the population is aged under 30 and “we can’t remain indifferent.” But he also said “don’t interpret this as me not being a candidate.”
His fiercest political rivals include Henri Konan Bedie , 85, who broke away from the ruling coalition last year after Ouattara claimed a new constitution adopted in 2016 allows him to seek a third mandate if he wishes.
Another, Laurent Gbagbo, 74, was acquitted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity committed after a disputed vote in 2010, but prosecutors are appealing the ruling.