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Guillaume Kigbafori Soro

Guillaume Soro.

Incumbent
Assumed office 
04 April 2007
President Laurent Gbagbo
Preceded by Charles Konan Banny

Born 8 May 1972 (1972-05-08) (age 37)
Political party MPCI
FNCI
Religion Roman Catholic

Guillaume Kigbafori Soro (born May 8, 1972 in Ferkessédougou, Côte d'Ivoire) has served as the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire since April 4, 2007. Prior to his service as Prime Minister, Soro led the Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire and later the New Forces rebel group as its Secretary-General.[1][2]

Contents

Ivorian Civil War

A Roman Catholic from Diawala in the north of the country, Soro led the rebel Patriotic Movement of Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI) in a September 2002 rebellion against the government of President Laurent Gbagbo that triggered the Ivorian Civil War. In December 2002 Soro's MPCI combined with two other rebel groups - Ivorian Popular Movement of the Great West (MPIGO) and Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) - to form the les Forces Nouvelles de Côte d'Ivoire (New Forces). He became Secretary-general of the group.

Political career

Following a peace agreement in January 2003, Soro joined the government as communications minister in April 2003.[3] The New Forces ministers began a boycott of the government in September 2003 and returned to the government in January 2004.[4] After an opposition demonstration held in Abidjan was violently broken up in March 2004, Soro and other former rebel and opposition ministers began boycotting the government. In turn, Gbagbo dismissed Soro from his position, along with two other ministers, on 19 May 2004. Soro denounced this move, saying that it was effectively a coup by Gbagbo against the peace agreement.[5][6] On 9 August 2004 Soro attended a cabinet meeting and was reinstated in his position.[7] On 28 December 2005, Soro was appointed minister of reconstruction and reintegration in the government of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny; in this position he became the second ranking member of the government, after the prime minister.[8] He did not, however, attend a cabinet meeting in this capacity until 15 March 2006.[9]

Prime minister

Following a peace deal signed on March 4, 2007, it was considered a possibility that Soro would be named prime minister in a new government, and Gbagbo was said to want Soro as the next prime minister.[10] In an interview published on March 26, Soro said that he would be willing to become prime minister.[11] An agreement was signed on the same day according to which Soro would become prime minister, and Gbagbo was expected to officially appoint him to the position,[12] which he did on 29 March.[13] Soro took office on 4 April,[14] and his government was named on April 7, with 32 ministers (excluding Soro himself); this was slightly fewer than in Banny's government, and Soro's government contained many of the same ministers as its predecessor.[15][16]

In a speech broadcast on April 13, Soro apologized "to everybody and on behalf of everybody" for the harm caused by the war.[17]

On June 29, 2007 rockets were fired at Soro's plane at the airport in Bouaké, significantly damaging the plane. Soro was unhurt, although four others were said to have been killed and ten were said to have been wounded. Arrests were subsequently reported.[18]

Soro and Gbagbo participated in disarmament ceremony, the "peace flame", on July 30. This ceremony involved burning weapons to symbolize the end of the conflict.[19][20]

Soro, as Prime Minister, is barred from standing as a candidate in the planned 2008 presidential election by the peace agreement. Soro said in a March 2008 interview with Jeune Afrique that he would discuss his future political plans following the election. Rumors have suggested that Soro and Gbagbo have secretly agreed on an arrangement whereby Soro would support Gbagbo in the election and, in exchange, Gbagbo would back Soro in the subsequent presidential election; Soro derided these rumors as "gossip". Describing himself as an "arbiter of the electoral process", he said that the New Forces would not back any candidate and its members could vote for whomever they wished.[21]

References

  1. ^ Oliver Furley and Roy May. Ending Africa's Wars: Progressing to Peace, 2006. Page 71.
  2. ^ Christopher L. Salter and Joseph John Hobbs. Essentials of World Regional Geography, 2006. Page 489.
  3. ^ Anne Boher, "Ivory Coast coalition government raises hopes", Reuters (IOL), April 16, 2003.
  4. ^ "Soro meets Gbagbo, opposes multiple referendum", IRIN, January 13, 2004.
  5. ^ "Gbagbo sacks rebel chief from power-sharing cabinet", IRIN, May 20, 2004.
  6. ^ "Ivorian rebel ministers sacked", BBC News, May 20, 2004.
  7. ^ "Power sharing cabinet meets for first time in five months", IRIN, August 9, 2004.
  8. ^ "New government announced after weeks of haggling", IRIN, December 29, 2005.
  9. ^ "Rebel leader attends first cabinet meeting in over a year", IRIN, March 15, 2006.
  10. ^ "Ivory Coast rebel chief, official in talks", AFP (IOL), March 14, 2007.
  11. ^ Loucoumane Coulibaly, "Soro is ready to be premier of Ivory Coast", Reuters (IOL), March 27, 2007.
  12. ^ "Rebel leader 'is new Ivorian PM'", BBC News, March 27, 2007.
  13. ^ "Soro appointed PM", News24.com, March 29, 2007.
  14. ^ "Former rebel leader takes over as Ivory Coast's prime minister", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), April 4, 2007.
  15. ^ "Gbagbo names government led by rebel", Reuters (IOL), April 7, 2007.
  16. ^ "Ivorian Premier Guillaume Soro forms a government of 32 ministers", African Press Agency, April 7, 2007.
  17. ^ "Ivorian PM’s apology captures weekend newspaper headlines", African Press Agency, April 15, 2007.
  18. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire: arrestations après l'attentat contre le Premier ministre Soro", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), June 30, 2007 (French).
  19. ^ "Ivory Coast leaders burn weapons", BBC News, July 30, 2007.
  20. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire: Gbagbo en zone rebelle pour prôner la paix et des élections rapides", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), July 30, 2007 (French).
  21. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire: Guillaume Soro exprimera ses ambitions après la présidentielle", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), March 17, 2008 (French).

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Konan Banny
Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire
2007–present
Incumbent
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