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Ivory Coast’s government resigned on Wednesday after President Alassane Ouattara vowed to bring more “efficiency” to the West African state just two months after he was re-elected.

Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan presented his resignation and that of his government at what was to have been the first cabinet meeting of the year in a move observers said was expected.

But after praising the 73-year-old economist for astutely handling his brief during three years in the post, Ouattara’s office said Kablan Duncan would remain as head of a new team.

“The president of the republic (has signed) a decree nominating Daniel Kablan Duncan as prime minister and government head and has instructed him to propose a new government as soon as possible,” presidential secretary general Amadou Gon Coulibaly said.

Prior to Coulibaly’s announcement on Kablan Duncan’s retention, Ouattara had declared a new cabinet would be “put in place in the coming days — targeting greater cohesion and more efficiency of government action.”

Ouattara, 74, says he is seeking to mold a “new Ivory Coast” to draw a line under the turmoil of the civil war in 2011.

Reelected for a second-five year term on October 25, Ouattara has said he wants to deepen national reconciliation and draw up a new constitution which he plans to put to a referendum.

Other aims include redistributing uneven wealth and tackling high youth unemployment.

– ‘A new dynamic’ –

Following the vote, which observers hailed as generally smooth and peaceful, Ouattara himself indicated he wanted to see fresh faces in government, including more women in cabinet posts.

But he praised Kablan Duncan’s team, expressing gratitude for “your competence, your leadership and your action at the head of the government”, and hailing the cabinet for its “good conduct” in state affairs.

Addressing the president, Kablan Duncan explained he stepped down recognising Ouattara’s desire to bring “greater efficiency” to the management of government affairs.

“At the last 2015 cabinet meeting on December 23, you expressed your wish to inject a new dynamic into government action, undertaking a government reshuffle targeting greater efficiency in dealing with our fellow citizens’ primary concerns,” he said.

“In view of this, and as you embark on your second term, I would like.. to present to you my resignation as prime minister,” Kablan Duncan said.

A respected member of Ivory Coast’s Democratic Party (PDCI), which was founded in the 1940s by former president Henri Konan Bedie, Kablan Duncan took over as prime minister in November 2012.

He formed a broad team of figures drawn from the coalition which propelled Ouattara to power although several key posts were reserved for technocrats.

Kablan Duncan replaced fellow PDCI member Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou, a surprise casualty of disagreements which emerged within the coalition.

Kouadio Ahoussou served as premier for eight months in 2012, replacing Guillaume Soro who served in the post for five years. Before becoming premier, Soro headed the Patriotic Movement rebel force which led a 2002 rebellion against former president Laurent Gbagbo, which triggered the first civil war.

Soro is now head of the National Assembly.

Last year’s poll took place without incident in Ivory Coast, a key West African economy and the world’s prime cocoa producer, enabling the country to turn the page on a wave of bloodshed and violence which claimed some 3,000 lives in the wake of Ouattara’s initial election triumph over Gbagbo in 2010.

 

– AFP

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