Ivory Coast's Ouattara says to seek re-election in 2015

ABIDJAN Wed Jul 3, 2013 12:20pm EDT

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara talks during a news conference with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) at the presidential palace in Abidjan March 2, 2013. REUTERS/ Luc Gnago

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara talks during a news conference with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (not seen) at the presidential palace in Abidjan March 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/ Luc Gnago

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara said on Wednesday that he would seek re-election for a second term in 2015 in the world's top cocoa grower, the first time he has publicly commented on his leadership plans.

Ouattara won a November 2010 election but only took power in April 2011 after winning a brief civil war, thanks to French support, against fighters loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo.

Since then Ouattara has won international praise and financial backing for his efforts to rebuild a country that was Francophone Africa's powerhouse before a decade of conflict triggered political deadlock and economic stagnation.

"I have decided to seek a second term so I can continue the work that I have started," Ouattara said during a visit to the northern town of M'Bengue, in comments broadcast on state television.

During the last two years, investors have flocked to Ivory Coast to tap opportunities in agriculture, mining, oil and other industries, propelling economic growth to 9.8 percent last year.

But Ouattara has struggled to push through reconciliation efforts after years of tensions left the country deeply divided. The brief civil war in 2011 killed some 3,000 people.

While Gbagbo and many of his allies have been arrested, Ouattara has been accused of failing to investigate alleged abuses by the former rebels who backed him in the conflict and, according to U.N. experts, are maintaining criminal networks.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by David Lewis)

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