Ivory Coast’s president named the governor of a regional central bank as his deputy, making him the front-runner to become the next leader of the world’s biggest cocoa grower.
The appointment of Tiemoko Meyliet Kone as vice president marks the start of a race to succeed President Alassane Ouattara, 80, who will step down after serving three terms in 2025. Ouattara also reappointed Patrick Achi, 66, as prime minister, which vies with the deputy presidency as the second-most powerful position in the West African nation’s government.
A 73-year-old economist, Kone previously served as minister of construction in the Ivorian government, before taking up the position of governor of the Central Bank of West African States in 2016.
The position of vice president has been vacant since Daniel Kablan Duncan resigned in 2020, after he was overlooked as a potential successor to Ouattara in that year’s election. Ouattara went on to win a third term in office.
Under Ivory Coast’s constitution, the vice president takes over in the event the president becomes incapacitated.
Achi’s reappointment came a week after he stepped down to prepare for a slimmed down cabinet. Ouattara said last week he will reduce the number of ministers to “strengthen government effectiveness and bearing in mind the current world economic situation.” The cabinet currently consists of 41 people.
“After today’s events, succession is still an open question,” said Tochi Eni-Kali, Africa analyst at the Washington-based Eurasia Group. “Achi is by no means out of the race, but Kone very much fits Ouattara’s ideal profile. If anything, this development could limit the pool of serious contenders but, with elections three years away, there’s still a lot that could happen.”
Culled from THISDAY