Mamadou Coulibaly, acting president of the FPI (party of former President Laurent Gbagbo) since the end of the crisis, resigned yesterday.
The President of the National Assembly, who has been critical of his own party’s policies for some time now, blamed the unwillingness of his peers to bring change to the FPI. He inherited the heavy task to rebuild the party after is president Pascal Affi N’Guessan was placed under house arrest.
Considering the decisions he took since the end of the crisis, Coulibaly’s intent was clearly to move the party away from the Gbagbo era and rebuild it on new foundations. He had good cards in hands: he found himself at the head of the country’s number two party, and wanted to revitalize it by creating a strong and popular political opposition against Ouattara. With the support of other important members, he was hoping to create a different image for the party and to dissociate it from the chaos that ensued Gbagbo’s decision not to step down. However, the support he was expecting still held allegiance to the former chiefs, and other members refused to make any decisive move until the fate of the likes of Laurent Gbagbo, Simone Gbagbo and Pascal Affi N’Guessan is sealed.
Coulibaly is now leaving the FPI to create his own political party, the LIDER (Liberte et Democratie pour la Republique). In such circumstances, a success would be very surprising. With his frequent opposition to the FPI and now his resignation, he may have alienated his possible FPI supporters. Although he is a Northerner, his hard positions following the 2002 rebellion have also strongly deteriorated his image amongst the North population.
Ironically, the fate of the FPI is now in the hands of Ouattara and the judiciary system. The party is doomed to stagnation until the leadership is restored. Regardless of Coulibaly’s abilities to lead the party, his resignation raises doubts on the future of FPI and changes significantly the political landscape before the legislative elections later this year.