Former Cote d’Ivoire rebel leader Soro to run for president in 2020 poll

FILE PHOTO: Soro Guillaume makes a speech during the inauguration of newly established National Assembly in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on April 03, 2017./ Getty Images

Former Cote d’Ivoire rebel leader Guillaume Soro has announced that he will run in the 2020 Presidential elections.

The 47-year-old led the rebels that unsuccessfully attempted to oust former President Laurent Gbagbo in 2002, dividing the country for nearly a decade.

Current President Alassane Ouattara is serving his second term, but has in the past hinted at running for another term in next year’s poll.

Ouattara argued that his two terms were served under the country’s old constitution, and therefore he is not barred by the new constitution from seeking another mandate. His opponents have however dismissed this.

Soro announced via a Facebook post that he will be on the ballot in 2020.

“There are pro-Soro political parties that have already chosen me as their candidate,” he said “So, I will be a candidate.”

Soro has served in the past as prime minister and speaker of parliament. Analysts say his relative youth and charisma could make him a strong candidate.

He also retains the loyalty of many former rebel commanders who now hold senior positions in the national army.

Gbagbo, who was freed by the International Criminal Court in The Hague in February after being acquitted of war crimes during the civil war, has not said whether he will run, but his supporters widely expect him to be on the ballot.