Ivory Coast: Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko dies of cancer in Germany

People walk past a newspaper stand a day after the death of Ivory Coast's Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on March 11, 2021. The newspaper title (L) reads "Ivory Coast in mourning, Goodbye Hambak". Image: REUTERS/Luc Gnago
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko died Wednesday of cancer in Germany, the presidency announced, marking the second time within a year that the country’s premier has died in office due to illness.

Bakayoko, 56, had been brought to Paris for medical treatment nearly a month ago, and had recently been moved to Germany. A government statement announcing his death was read on national television Wednesday evening.

Bakayoko was chosen last July after then-Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died from a heart problem. Coulibaly was President Alassane Ouattara’s chosen successor, and the incumbent leader decided to seek another term in office after his party’s preferred candidate died.

Ouattara maintained that the country’s two-term limit for presidents does not apply to him because of a constitutional referendum passed in 2016.

Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko is photographed at a cabinet meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Sept. 5, 2019. Bakayoko, 56, died Wednesday March 10, 2021 of cancer in Germany, marking the second time within a year that the country’s premier has died in office due to illness. Bakayoko had been brought to Paris for medical treatment and had recently been moved to Germany. (AP Photo/Diomande Ble Blonde)

Opposition parties, though, decried Ouattara’s decision to seek a third term and all but one other candidate boycotted the vote, paving the way for his sweeping victory.

The president described Bakayoko as a “great statesman” in presenting his condolences Wednesday.

“The prime minister served Ivory Coast with dedication and selflessness,” Ouattara said

TOUSSAINT N’GOTTA I Associated Press

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