President Alassane Ouattara’s party won a large victory in the municipal and regional elections of September 2, consolidating its status as leader two years before the presidential election. In difficulty at the polls, the opposition coalition finished third behind the independent candidates who made a notable breakthrough. Interview and decryption with Severin Yao Kouame, Ivorian sociologist.
It is a poll considered as a barometer for the 2025 presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire. The almost final results of the municipal and regional elections, organized on Saturday across the country, fell on Monday September 4, indicating an overwhelming victory for the RHDP (Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace) of President Alassane Ouattara.
According to the Independent Electoral Commission, his party won 123 municipalities out of 201 and 25 regions out of 31, far ahead of the PDCI-RDA (Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire-African Democratic Rally) of the late Henri Konan Bedie and the PPA-CI ( African Peoples Party-Ivory Coast) of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Only three results, in two municipalities and one region, are still awaited.
The two main opposition forces which had concluded a partial alliance in several localities won 34 municipalities and 4 regions, in this election marked by a notable breakthrough by independent candidates.
To analyze these results and their potential impact on the 2025 presidential election, France 24 spoke with Severin Yao Kouame, Ivorian sociologist, teacher-researcher at the University of Bouake and founder of the Indigo Côte d’Ivoire think tank.
France 24: The RHDP was given the big favorite in the election, how do you evaluate this performance of Alassane Ouattara’s party ?
SeYao Kouame jack: In these elections, the ruling party consolidates its leading position nationally, with a well-established electorate across the country. The RHDP enjoys a demographic configuration that is favorable to it. In Ivory Coast, voting is very community-based and centered on major political figures. However, populations in the north, particularly in urban areas, vote almost systematically for Ouattara. The RHDP, which has been at the forefront for around fifteen years, still benefits from an active and mobilized electorate.
There is nevertheless a small downside, because if the figure of Ouattara is still popular, the RHDP is experiencing dissension. Several former party figures left to run independently. Alassane Ouattara had tried to warn against the temptation of these dissident candidacies but he did not manage to avoid them. This is the case in Ferkessedougou or Kaniasso for example where the RHDP candidates lost to former supporters of the majority.
The two main opposition parties, PDCI-RDA and PPA-CI only won 34 communes, while 42 were won by independent candidates, is this a turning point in the Ivorian political landscape ?
In view of the results, we can establish that the main opposition is now made up of independents, a significant part of which comes from the ruling party. Generally speaking, we see that the opposition has great difficulty mobilizing, even if the PDCI-RDA has managed to retain some of its strongholds, particularly in the Baoule region and in the south of the country.
The big loser of this election is undoubtedly the left. Laurent Gbagbo’s party, the PPA-CI, for whom these elections constituted an important test, only won two communes, outside of its alliance with the PDCI-RDA. His most bitter defeat was probably in Yopougon, Gbagbo’s former stronghold, which his son, Michel, was unable to recapture. The situation is also very bad for his former party the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), whose president Pascal Affi N’guessan himself lost the Moronou region, in the center-east, to the benefit of the opposition coalition.
We see that the left is no longer in phase with current local dynamics. In its traditional strongholds, the populations have evolved, grown older and support for Laurent Gbagbo has withered. His party was unable to maintain the link due to a lack of local work, but also difficulties in getting a message out. The PPA-CI remains barely heard politically and the figure of Gbagbo is no longer enough to unite and mobilize an electorate.
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What lessons should the parties draw from these results with a view to of the 2025 presidential election ?
The left must do a lot of work to remobilize its support and reinvent its political offer. She has a card to play, because the question of social justice is still relevant: many Ivorians believe that they do not benefit enough from the fallout from economic growth.
For the PDCI-RDA, the disappearance of its president Henri Konan Bedie one month before the election seems to have been neither a major handicap nor a catalyst for mobilization in these elections. Everything will now be decided on the question of his succession with a vote planned in the coming months to elect a new leader.
Finally, on the presidential side, several important political figures managed to do well, such as the Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, re-elected as head of the La Me regional council, or the Minister of Defense, Tene Birahima Ouattara, younger brother of the president, winner in the Tchologo. But that doesn’t make them national candidates. At the RHDP, it is still far too early to launch into predictions about possible successors to Alassane Ouattara, especially since the president, who also emerged strengthened from these elections, has suggested that he could still compete in other mandates.
Source: France 24