|Henri Konan Bédié|
|2nd President of Côte d'Ivoire|
7 December 1993 – 24 December 1999
Acting to 22 October 1995
|Preceded by||Félix Houphouët-Boigny|
|Succeeded by||Robert Guéï|
May 5, 1934 |
Dadiékro, French West Africa
|Spouse(s)||Henriette Koinzan Bomo|
Aimé Henri Konan Bédié (born May 5, 1934) is an Ivorian politician. He was President of Ivory Coast from 1993 to 1999, and he is currently the President of the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire - African Democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA).
Bédié was born in Dadiékro in Daoukro Department. After studying in France, he became Côte d'Ivoire's first ambassador to the United States and Canada following independence in 1960, and from 1966 to 1977 he served in the government as Minister of Economy and Finance. While serving as Finance Minister, Bédié became the first Chairman of the IMF and World Bank's joint Development Committee, holding that post from 1974 to 1976. He was Special Advisor to the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, Bédié was elected to the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, and he was then elected as President of the National Assembly in December 1980. He was re-elected as President of the National Assembly in 1985 and 1990.
As National Assembly President, Bédié succeeded long-time President Félix Houphouët-Boigny upon the latter's death in December 1993. He announced that he was assuming the presidency on state television a few hours after Houphouët-Boigny's death on December 7. A brief power struggle between Bédié and Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara ensued; Bédié was successful and Ouattara resigned as Prime Minister on December 9. Bédié was subsequently elected as President of the PDCI in April 1994.
As President, Bédié encouraged national stability but was accused of political repression and stratospheric levels of corruption. In the October 1995 presidential election, the electoral code was amended to require presidential candidates to have been born of two Ivorian parents and have resided in the country for five years prior to the election. These provisions were thought to have been aimed at Ouattara. He had resided in the United States since 1990 while serving as deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and his father was rumoured to be Burkinabe. The two main opposition parties, the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) and the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), decided to boycott the election, and Bédié won the election with 96% of the vote.
Bédié was overthrown in a military coup on December 24, 1999, after he rejected the demands of soldiers who rebelled on December 23; one of these demands was for the release of members of the RDR. Retired general Robert Guéï became president. Bédié fled to a French military base before leaving Côte d'Ivoire by helicopter on December 26 and going to Togo, along with family members. Upon his arrival at the airport in Lomé, he was greeted by Togolese President Gnassingbé Eyadéma.
Bédié departed Togo on January 3, 2000 and went to Paris. The PDCI announced in early 2000 that it would hold a congress to choose new leadership, and Bédié denounced this as a "putsch"; the party decided to retain Bédié in the leadership, however. An international arrest warrant for Bédié and Niamien N'Goran, who had served under Bédié as Finance Minister, was issued in early June 2000 for alleged theft of public funds. Speaking on French television, Bédié said that he was not worried that he might be returned to Côte d'Ivoire to face trial at the hands of a government that he deemed illegal, expressing his "faith in the law of France".
He registered as a candidate in the October 2000 presidential election, although Emile Constant Bombet, who had served as Interior Minister under Bédié, defeated him for the PDCI presidential nomination in August. Bédié was barred from running by the Constitutional Court, along with Bombet, and on October 10 Bédié called for a boycott of the election.
On June 23, 2001, Laurent Gbagbo, who had been elected President in the 2000 election, met with Bédié in Paris and urged him to return to Côte d'Ivoire. He eventually returned on October 15, 2001. A few days later, the 11th Ordinary Congress of the PDCI was postponed indefinitely at his request.
Bédié spoke at a national reconciliation forum on November 12, 2001. He attributed the country's political crisis to the December 1999 coup and he urged all Ivorian politicians to denounce the coup. He also said that the nationalistic concept of Ivorité, which was promoted during his presidency, was an attempt to bolster "cultural identity" and not a means of political exclusion. According to critics of Ivorité, it was divisive, xenophobic, and intended to eliminate political competition from Ouattara—who was claimed to be the son of Burkinabé parents—but Bédié rejected this criticism. When the PDCI Congress was eventually held in April 2002, Bédié defeated Laurent Dona Fologo for the party leadership; he received 82% of the vote.
Bédié later spent another year in France, returning to Côte d'Ivoire on September 11, 2005. Upon his return, he said that President Gbagbo should not remain in office after the end of his term in October 2005 and that a transitional government should be installed.
Bédié addressed a rally in Dabou on September 22, 2007, in which he declared the need for a "shock treatment" to return the country to normal, promised to restore the economy, and strongly criticized Gbagbo.
- Biography at PDCI-RDA website (French).
- "Citation Award of the World Health Organization Health-for-All Gold Medal to His Excellency Mr Henri Konan Bédié President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire", World Health Organization, May 15, 1998.
- "Pages from World Bank History: The Development Committee, 1974–1984", World Bank website, April 11, 2003.
- List of deputies from past legislatures, National Assembly website (French).
- "Parliament Leader Prevails In Ivory Coast", Associated Press (Tulsa World), December 10, 1993.
- Mundt, Robert J. (1997). "Côte d'Ivoire: Continuity and Change in a Semi-Democracy". In Clark, John F.; Gardinier, David E. Political Reform in Francophone Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 194–197. ISBN 0-8133-2785-7.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Ousted president arrives in Togo". IRIN. December 26, 1999.
- "Ousted leader, family, aides flee to Togo". The Washington Times (AFP). December 27, 1999.
- McNeil, Donald G., Jr. (December 27, 1999). "Ousted Leader Of Ivory Coast Flees to Togo". The New York Times.
- "Deposed Ivorian president leaves Togo for France", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), January 3, 2000.
- "Cote d'Ivoire: Ousted president accuses party of staging "putsch" against him", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), February 29, 2000.
- "Ivorian former ruling party wants coup leader to stick to 'transition period'". Radio France Internationale (nl.newsbank.com). April 11, 2000.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Arrest warrant issued for ousted president". IRIN. June 7, 2000.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Nineteen register as presidential candidates", IRIN, August 18, 2000.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Ex-interior minister chosen as PDCI presidential candidate", IRIN, August 21, 2000.
- "Dictator has one credible foe in vote", The Washington Times, October 22, 2000.
- Szajkowski, Bogdan, ed. (2005). Political Parties of the World (6th ed.). London: John Harper. p. 146. ISBN 0-9543811-4-9.
- "Cote d'Ivoire: Former President Bedie calls for presidential election boycott", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), October 10, 2000.
- "France: Cote d'Ivoire president asks predecessor to return home", AFP (nl.newsbank.com), June 23, 2001.
- "Cote d'Ivoire: Ex-President returns home, wants to contribute to reconciliation", Radio Côte d'Ivoire (nl.newsbank.com), October 16, 2000.
- "Cote d'Ivoire: Former ruling party postpones ordinary congress indefinitely", Africa No 1 radio, Libreville (nl.newsbank.com), October 19, 2001.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Former, current presidents address reconciliation forum", IRIN, November 14, 2001.
- "COTE D'IVOIRE: Former president calls for Gbagbo to hand over to a transitional government", IRIN, September 12, 2005.
- "Côte d'Ivoire: Bédié "impatient" d'aller à l'élection présidentielle", AFP (Afriquenews.com), May 21, 2007 (French).
- "Côte d'Ivoire: Bédié veut un "traitement de choc" pour le retour de la paix", AFP (Jeuneafrique.com), September 22, 2007 (French).
- Loucoumane Coulibaly, "Opposition leader unveils recovery plan", Reuters (IOL), September 24, 2007.
- "Ex-Ivory Coast head in rare rally". BBC News. September 23, 2007.
|President of Côte d'Ivoire