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The Debate – The return of Laurent Gbagbo: Is Ivory Coast ready for reconciliation?

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His supporters had been waiting ten years for this day. Laurent Gbagbo basked in a hero’s welcome for his grand return to Abidjan. It took a brief rekindling of Ivory Coast’s civil war to force out the former president when he refused to concede the 2010 election to current leader Alassane Ouattara. After the case against Gbagbo fell apart at the International Criminal Court, we ask about the terms and conditions of the return of a larger-than-life political figure.

We also ask about the two faces of a nation that is a regional powerhouse with near double-digit growth but where bottled-up rivalries and political resentment have never been fully addressed. After the opposition’s recent decision to take part in legislative elections, does the now 76-year-old Gbagbo’s return signal an appeasement or kick off a new period of uncertainty?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain, Imen Mellaz and Jack Colmer-Gale.

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