Gbagbo must go - ex-rebel leader
06 December 2010, 12:22
Paris - The head of the former rebel movement that split the Ivory Coast, now supporting one of two "presidents" disputing rule of the country, said on Monday that Laurent Gbagbo must go.
Guillaume Soro, who backs fellow former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara's claim to have won last month's election, said he had asked AU envoy Thabo Mbeki to persuade Gbagbo to step aside.
"There must be a transition of power," Soro told France's Europe 1 radio. "There's no question of dividing Ivory Coast."
Gbagbo - the incumbent since 2000 - and Ouattara both claim to have won the November 28 poll, and both have declared themselves Ivory Coast's new leader, plunging the West African state into a new crisis.
Mbeki has flown to Abidjan on behalf of the AU to mediate a solution, and the bulk of the international community, including the UN and former colonial power France, backs Ouattara.
For his part, Gbagbo has retained the loyalty of the head of the army.
Soro was leader of a 2002 rebellion by northern forces opposed to Gbagbo's rule. In 2007 there was a peace accord between the parties, and he has served as prime minister in a power-sharing government since 2007.
He has now resigned from Gbagbo's administration, but would continue as prime minister under Ouattara if the latter succeeds in forming a government.