On Monday, the ex-rebel leader and former Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who has been in exile since 2019, said on his YouTube channel that there was no "reason" why he could not run for president in 2025.
"There is no reason" not to be a candidate in the next presidential election, Guillaume Soro said after several months of silence, in an interview of more than an hour by his communications director.
Guillaume Soro urged the leaders of his party, Generations and People's Solidarity (GPS), to "work on the ground to consolidate" their "organization", "capable of taking up the presidential challenge".
Mr. Soro repeated that according to him, "neither prison nor exile is a brake on a career, on a political destiny.
"During my exile (...) I went everywhere, to America, Europe, the Middle East" to "make contacts, participate in meetings and private appointments", he said.
"These months when I refrained from speaking publicly (...) marked a great work of reflection for the construction of our movement," he added.
Already in exile, Guillaume Soro had been sentenced in Côte d'Ivoire in June 2021 to life imprisonment for "undermining state security", accused of having fomented a "civil and military insurgency" aimed at overthrowing the regime of current President Alassane Ouattara, in 2019.
The dissolution of his movement had also been requested by the court.
"This so-called dissolution is totally political," he said. "These are not the letters +GPS+ that we wanted to dissolve, the truth is that it is a man (...) to whom we want to prohibit politics in Côte d'Ivoire," he denounced.
The Ivory Coast: "It is there my country, it is there that I have vocation to finish my days", he insisted.
Leader of the rebellion that controlled the northern half of Côte d'Ivoire in the 2000s, Guillaume Soro had militarily helped Alassane Ouattara to come to power during the post-election crisis of 2010-2011 against the outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to admit defeat.
Guillaume Soro had become the first head of government of Mr. Ouattara, before a break in early 2019, due, according to observers, to the presidential ambitions of Mr. Soro.
In April 2020, he had already been sentenced to 20 years in prison for handling misappropriated public funds.
This conviction had justified the invalidation of his candidacy for the October 2020 presidential election.