After being definitively acquitted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court last year, Charles Blé Goudé, the former right-hand man of ex-Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, is expected to soon return to Ivory Coast after more than a decade in exile. On May 30, Blé Goudé received an Ivorian passport via the current president, Alassane Ouattara. In an interview with FRANCE 24, Blé Goudé discussed his upcoming return home, as well as his political ambitions.
Speaking to FRANCE 24 in The Hague, Blé Goudé said he had received an Ivorian passport via the current president, Alassane Ouattara, his former political opponent. Blé Goudé added that he was in talks with the presidency to organise his return. While denying a deal with Ouattara, he expressed confidence that his 20-year jail sentence handed down by the Ivorian justice system will not be carried out.
Although the former minister did not rule out working with Ouattara, he admitted that his former mentor Laurent Gbagbo had not invited him to join his new party, which Gbagbo launched on his own return to Ivory Coast a year ago. Blé Goudé said he was nevertheless open to an alliance with Gbagbo's ex-wife Simone, who is expected to soon launch her own political movement.
The 50-year-old politician said he was in favour of an upper age limit of 75 for presidential candidates and a limit on presidential terms. Former president Laurent Gbagbo is 77 and current leader Alassane Ouattara is 80. Blé Goudé also reaffirmed that he wants to be president of Ivory Coast "one day", but refused to say if he will run in the 2025 elections, adding that he needs time to reunite with his country and his peers after 11 years of exile.