President Ouattara’s new palace and ministers

Even as his plans for a government reshuffle take shape, Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara is preparing to move the heart of power.

Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara (ADO) is planning to move, as early as March, to a new presidential palace, still in the Plateau district of Abidjan. This new five-story building called L’Esplanade is situated next to the old palace that Félix Houphouët-Boigny used to occupy. Far from being abandoned, the latter will undergo rehabilitation and renovation work.

The head of state plans to hold future councils of ministers at l’Espanade and has not given up on his plans for a reshuffle.

Four other figures

ADO still wants to reduce his team from 41 to 30 members. In the new palace, the room designed to house the government’s big meetings cannot accommodate more than 35 people around the oval table.

According to our information, several ministries will merge and 11 to 15 ministers will leave the government to make room for four new figures.

All government ministers will then come from the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP). The arrival of opposition leaders is not expected unless there is a last-minute change. In addition, ADO is planning to announce the changes to the party’s organisation chart to its members on 28 February.

In mid-December, ADO had informed the ministers that this draft reshuffle would be taking place and so prime minister Patrick Achi, who was assured that he would be remaining in office, has already acted on it. But the formation of the new government, which was initially scheduled for mid-January, has been postponed several times, as the presidential agenda is full.

On 3 February, the head of state left Côte d’Ivoire to attend the Ecowas summit on the Malian and Burkinabe crises in Accra, before going to Addis Ababa to take part in the African Union (AU) summit. Afterwards, ADO went to France for a private visit and then stayed in Brussels, where the AU-European Union summit was taking place. He returned to Abidjan on 22 February.

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