In Ivory Coast, the double vote of September 2, combining municipal and regional elections, was largely won by the ruling party, which thus extends its political control of the country. If the first issues were local, these elections were also a baptism of fire for politicians who, openly or not, harbor a national ambition and hope to strengthen their position within their party. In the three main parties that have shared power since independence, the young guard took this opportunity to showcase their strengths and the elders to show that they could still seduce the electorate.

Within the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), President Alassane Ouattara’s party, Mamadou Touré, the Minister of Youth, was elected in Haut-Sassandra with 58.65% of the vote. “It’s a great performance, both for the party and on an individual level, for Mamadou Touré,” greets Roger Adom, the chief of staff of the executive secretary of the RHDP. And a total victory, the seven municipalities also having switched to the side of the ruling party. “I had two challenges,” explains Mamadou Touré. Taking back a region that we had lost five years ago, and it was not won. But above all, support all the mayoral candidates until victory. »

The 47-year-old young wolf, already a deputy for the Daloa constituency since 2016, “deployed great resources and knew how to exploit the opposition’s flaws,” explains political scientist Sylvain N’Guessan, taking advantage of the absence of the Parti des African peoples-Ivory Coast [PPA-CI, the party founded by Laurent Gbagbo] during these long years to establish themselves”. He thus establishes his position as a figurehead of the new RHDP generation. To the point of positioning himself as a potential successor to the head of state Alassane Ouattara, 81, whose candidacy for the presidential election planned for 2025 remains a possibility?

Symbolic success of Adama Bictogo in Yopougon

Mamadou Touré has already spoken out in 2021 in favor of a fourth term for the president. Two years later, he continues to hammer home his loyalty but leaves doors open. “If President Ouattara decides to go, he will have my full support. Otherwise, my choice will be the candidate he chooses. Whoever he is, we will put ourselves in battle order to get him elected,” he specifies.

Mamadou Touré has set milestones for the future, but the most publicized victory, in the most scrutinized and most populated commune of Abidjan, is undoubtedly that of Adama Bictogo in Yopougon. His success is highly symbolic, since the President of the National Assembly faced two opponents with prestigious surnames: Michel Gbagbo for the PPA-CI and Dia Houphouët (no relation to the first president of the country) for the Democratic Party of Côte d Ivory (PDCI).

For the dashing sixty-year-old, this election is a new milestone reached. “You have elected a mayor, and this mayor is called Bictogo Adama,” he congratulated himself to his supporters after his victory. This mayor will therefore drive the Yopougon boat! » To take him to what destination?

In 2022, Adama Bictogo was demoted in the RHDP hierarchy, moving from executive management of the party to executive secretariat. A reorganization that looks like a sanction after too openly letting his presidential ambition emerge. Lesson learned: 2025 “is not yet on the agenda,” procrastinates Mr. Bictogo’s entourage.

Poor record for the opposition

Other notable victories for members of the government, Prime Minister Patrick Achi won in the Mé region, impregnable citadel of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) during the presidency of Laurent Gbagbo (2000-2011), and the Minister of public service Anne Ouloto in Cavally, another historic stronghold of the FPI.

“President Ouattara always wanted his close collaborators to have strong local roots,” rejoices Roger Adom, “and all the big heads of the RHDP [who presented themselves] won these locals hands down. Except for the President of the Senate. » Former pillar of the PDCI, Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio was beaten in the Bélier region (center) by his former party.

In opposition, the record is meager, but the PDCI can console itself with some great victories. These are all the more crucial as the party no longer has a leader since the death of former president Henri Konan Bédié on August 1. In the absence of a crown prince, the former single party is looking for a prince charming. Will he be among those who won in these elections, like Jean-Marc Yacé in Cocody, a rich residential commune in Abidjan, Jacques Ehouo, who won the Plateau, the business district of the Ivorian economic capital? , or Patrice Kouassi Kouamé who managed to maintain control of one of his strongholds, the capital Yamoussoukro?

The victory of the first two is today contested by their opponents from the RHDP who have filed appeals and, behind these personalities, other ambitious people are sharpening their weapons such as the former minister and boss of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, or the businessman Jean-Louis Billon.

The most bitter setback of this double election is ultimately that of Laurent Gbagbo’s PPA-CI. The son of the former president, Michel Gbagbo, was beaten in Yopougon, because he was unable to conclude an alliance with the PDCI in the commune. Another snub for Stéphane Kipré, the son-in-law of Laurent Gbagbo and flagship of the party’s new guard, who lost Haut-Sassandra despite his alliance with the PDCI. The party’s secretary general, Damana Pickass, was defeated in Gbôklè, and his spokesperson, Justin Koné Katinan, in the Abidjan commune of Port-Bouët. After this debacle, an extraordinary session of the party’s general secretariat was convened on Friday, September 22, with the aim of making an aggiornamento.