Friday, June 3, 2011

Ouattara Announces New Government

Ivory Coast announced a new government on Wednesday in another step towards re-establishing itself after a five-month dispute over presidential elections that descended into deadly violence.

The line-up of 36 ministers does not feature the party of Laurent Gbagbo, the former president who refused to step down after November elections, leading to the violence.

The new government is headed by Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, who is also defence minister; it includes 14 members of President Alassane Ouattara's Rally of the Republicans party and eight from the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast of his main ally, former president Henri Konan Bedie.

One-time rebel movement the New Forces has five members in the cabinet, one of them being Soro, while five ministers are from the civil society. The remaining portfolios are held by smaller parties, with Gbagbo's Popular Ivorian Front absent. Ouattara had wanted to include Gbagbo's party but it had imposed conditions for its participation, including the release of the former president and others.

Gbagbo is being held at an official residence in the north of the country and faces prosecution over the conflict.
The new government is expected to hold its first cabinet meeting on Friday.

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