Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara has declined an opportunity to continue as leader of the ruling Rally of Republicans (RDR) party.
The 75-year-old whiles rejecting the position also put forward a female nominee for the post during the RDR’s third congress held in the capital Abidjan over the weekend.
His nominee, Henriette Diabate, was subsequently voted leader by acclamation whiles the President was also appointed an honorary president of RDR.
Turning down the post came as a shock to most party loyalists and political watchers across the continent.
Ouattara won elections in 2010 (he took office only in 2011 because of the political crisis at the time). He was re-elected in 2015 for a second and last which ends in 2020.
He also insisted on maintaining and strengthening political alliances notably with the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) of former President Henri Konan Bédie in view of the next presidential election in 2020.