African Court says ex-Côte d’Ivoire PM Soro should be allowed to run in election

Ivorian National Assembly president Guillaume Soro looks over during the launch of a new movement called 'Political Committee', one week after his resignation as speaker on February 15, 2019 in Abidjan. - Soro is a member of Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara's Rally of Republicans (RDR) party but is rumoured to have fallen out with him. Ouattara nonetheless said there was "no problem" between them, adding: "I do not rule out that he will return." (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Côte d’Ivoire presidential hopeful Guillaume Soro (Photo credit ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Côte d’Ivoire Prime Minister Guillaume Soro should be allowed to run in the country’s presidential election, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) ruled.

Soro had been barred from contesting the elections by Côte d’Ivoire’s Constitutional Council, along with former president Laurent Gbagbo.

The court’s decision, which included one to clear incumbent Alassane Ouattara to run for a controversial third term, sparked violent protests in a number of cities.

That meant Ouattara and three other candidates remained in the running for the country’s top seat. The others are: former president Henri Konan Bédié, former Prime Minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan, and Kouadio Konan Bertin.

It is not clear whether the AfCHPR decision will reflect on Côte d’Ivoire’s authorities as the West African nation had announced its withdrawal from the AfCHPR’s charter in April.

The withdrawal came after the AfCHPR ordered Côte d’Ivoire to suspend its arrest warrant against Soro and to release his relatives who had been in detention for several months.

That same month, Soro was sentenced to 20 years in jail for embezzlement and money laundering. In addition to the jail sentence, the court also ordered that Soro be stripped of his Civic rights for seven years.

The events made it appear highly unlikely that Soro would be eligible to contest in the election. He, however, denied the charges claiming it was a move to stop him contesting in the election.

Côte d’Ivoire is scheduled to hold presidential elections on October 31.