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Resignation of Patrick Achi: ‘It’s not really a surprise’

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On Wednesday 13 April, Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi submitted his resignation, as well as that of his government. A team ” tightened up with about thirty members “will be mentioned next week to take into account” global economic conditions President Alassane Ouattara announced. Geoffroy-Julien Kouao, political scientist and essayist, deciphers the political significance of these resignations for RFI and paves the way for a three-year rescheduling of the presidential elections.

RFI: Prime Minister Patrick Achi tendered his resignation yesterday, as did members of his government, was this an expected decision or a surprise?

Geoffroy-Julien Kouao: No, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Since early 2022, observers of the Ivorian political scene have been expecting a cabinet reshuffle.

Patrick Achi was appointed prime minister more than a year ago, after the dazzling death of Hamed Bakayoko, do you think the head of state wants to replace him, where can he be reappointed as head of government?

According to my comments, the head of state will appoint a new prime minister. Otherwise, he would have reappointed him immediately after submitting his resignation.

If Patrick Achi is not reappointed, who will become prime minister next week?

The Prime Minister’s profile will depend on what the President of the Republic wants. If he wants a technocrat to head the government, we can certainly think of the current Secretary-General of the Presidency, Mr Abdourahmane Cissé, or even the Head of Cabinet, Mr Fidèle Sarassoro. We can also think of a lady, such as Madame Nialé Kaba, the Minister of Planning and Development. If, on the other hand, the president wants a politician to head the government, it is obvious that he will appoint a member of the RHDP (Rally of Houphouëtisten for Democracy and Peace). You might now be thinking of Gilbert Koné Kafana, Adama Bictogo, or to give a feminine touch to the Prime Minister, Kandia Camara.

The future election deadlines are approaching: the municipal elections in 2023, and especially the elections in 2025. Does this reshuffle mean that Alassane Ouattara is already thinking about the role a possible successor could play in the coming months?

Yes, it is quite possible. I think Alassane Ouattara is passing on power to a new generation. Patrick Achi is sure to be named before Congress next week with the consent of the Parliamentary Vice-President of the Republic. This, of course, makes him the presidential dolphin in the event of a power vacuum.

Does this upcoming reshuffle reflect some form of political calculation?

Yes, we can say it, in the sense that the next government could see the arrival of Pascal Affi N’Guessan or some of his leaders of the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front) to allow Alassane Ouattara to form an alliance with this party forge. left in view of the 2025 presidential election, where Laurent Gbagbo of the PPACI (African People’s Party-Côte d’Ivoire) and Henri Konan Bédié of the PDCI (Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire) are already tempted to run.

The President of the Republic Alassane Ouattara has already announced that the future government will be tighter, we are now talking about 30 ministers instead of 41. How can government action be more effective by reducing the number of ministers and what portfolios do you think could be to disappear?

In Côte d’Ivoire we have witnessed ministerial inflation since Houphouët-Boigny. We have extremely overstaffed governments, we currently have 42 ministers and that often creates a certain conflict of competence between the different departments. I think that by reducing the number of ministries, this will make it possible to make budget savings and really address the problems of Ivorians, including social issues and purchasing power.

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