Ivory Coast leader gets decree power over economy

Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:40pm EDT

* Parliament grants power of decree for 2013

* Change aimed to help bolster economy

* Ouattara pushing a post-war recovery programme

ABIDJAN, April 10 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's parliament granted President Alassane Ouattara the power to take decisions concerning the economy by decree this year, giving him a free hand to implement programmes aimed at spurring the West African nation's post-war recovery.

The world's top cocoa producer is emerging from a decade-long political crisis that ended with a brief civil war in 2011 and is in the midst of an economic revival, having posted GDP growth of 9.8 percent last year.

Heavy investment in infrastructure renewal and energy production coupled with the expansion of the nascent mining and petroleum sectors are intended to restore the country's status as a regional economic powerhouse.

"The president asked for the National Assembly's authorisation to act on economic and social issues by decree in order to implement his plan," Marius Ndri, the parliament's director of legislative services, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"It was approved by the majority," he said.

Ndri said decrees issued in the course of 2013 must be submitted to parliament by the end of the year for ratification by lawmakers.

Ouattara won a run-off election against incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo in late 2010. However Gbagbo's refusal to recognise his defeat sparked months of violence that killed over 3,000 people.

Gbagbo was arrested by French and U.N.-supported rebels backing Ouattara in April 2011 and is now awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court accused of crimes against humanity.

In his absence, Gbagbo's political allies boycotted December 2011 parliamentary polls which saw Ouattara's RDR party win a landslide victory, taking 127 of the National Assembly's 255 seats.

Ndri said six lawmakers voted against Wednesday's bill with another four abstaining. (Reporting By Joe Bavier; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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