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Ivorian PM steps down to make way for change

In an expected move, Ivory Coast Prime Minister Guillaume Soro submitted his resignation to President Alassane Ouattara on Thursday, saying his election as a member of parliament meant he could "no longer exercise the powers of the executive branch".


REUTERS - Ivory Coast’s prime minister Guillaume Soro and his cabinet resigned on Thursday, paving the way for the formation of a broader coalition government after parliamentary elections late last year.

“My election as member of parliament does not allow me to continue in the executive [branch]. After some reflection, I have decided to hand in my resignation and that of my government,” Soro, surrounded by his ministers, told President Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan.

Soro’s departure was expected and will allow Ouattara to keep his campaign promise of appointing a prime minister from the PDCI party of Henri Konan Bedie, which backed him in the second round of the 2010 presidential election.

Ouattara’s election victory was disputed by Laurent Gbagbo, his rival who had been president since 2000 and was unwilling to surrender power.

The power struggle triggered a bloody four-month conflict which ended in April of last year with Gbagbo’s capture. Soro’s Forces Nouvelles rebel group and former president Bedie backed Ouattara in the standoff.

Gbagbo is currently in jail awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague where he faces war crimes charges.

Soro, 39, has held the position of prime minister for five years, initially under a unity government that was headed by Gbagbo.

He is expected to take the helm of the national assembly - the second most powerful position in the country after the president - following his election as a member of parliament in December.

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