The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Ex Credit Suisse CEO, Politics in Côte d’Ivoire

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 23 December 2023

The Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) elected the former head of Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam, as its new chairman on Friday.

Ex Credit Suisse CEO, Politics in Côte d’Ivoire

As the new leader of the opposition party, Thiam has set his sights on the 2025 presidential elections.

The PDCI is considered the largest opposition party in the country. Thiam received 96.5 percent of the vote, according to the party. His opponent Jean-Marc Yacé, the mayor of the Cocody district in the southern city of Abidjan, received 3.2 percent of the vote.

“It is with great humility that I accept the responsibility,” said Thiam after paying tribute to his predecessors. Thiam is the third elected chairman in the history of the PDCI, which was founded in 1946. Before him, the Ivorian national father Félix Houphouët Boigny and another former head of state, Henri Konan Bédié, were at the helm of the party. Bédié died last August.

More than 6,000 congress participants were called upon to elect a new chairman of the PDCI in the Ivorian capital Yamoussoukro. The election took place without incident and the result was announced at around midnight. Voter turnout was 64 percent.

Young favorite

Thiam was considered the favorite as he is internationally known and is supported by a large majority of party members. At 61, he is considered young for high political office in the Ivory Coast. His election will rejuvenate the PDCI’s image.

“Our new chairman must get us back on track,” said the 91-year-old interim chairman, Philippe Cowppli-Bony. Thiam should give the young party members more responsibility.

Looking ahead to the 2025 election year

From now on, the party must prepare for the decisive election year of 2025, Thiam told the congress. The PDCI has not been at the helm of the Ivory Coast since 1999. The party, which wants to return to power in two years, offered Thiam its support for a possible candidacy on Friday evening.

The PDCI used to be allied with the current President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara. The party has been in opposition since 2018. It boycotted the last presidential elections. Thiam could trigger a new dynamic, said one delegate.

The Ivorian-French manager Thiam was head of the former major Swiss bank Credit Suisse from 2015 to 2020. Thiam lived in Switzerland. He resigned following scandals involving the shadowing of bank managers.

©Keystone/SDA

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