Laurent Gbagbo

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, currently on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, has been chosen to head the dissident wing of the Ivorian People’s Party (FPI), the party he created.

Gbagbo, 73, was the only candidate for the position and won 97.5 percent of 5,325 votes cast, said Franck Anderson Kouassi, spokesman for the pro-Gbagbo wing of the opposition FPI party.

“Laurent Gbagbo remains the cornerstone of our group,” Anderson Kouassi told AFP.

Meanwhile FPI head and former Ivory Coast premier Pascal Affi Guessan, was on Saturday re -elected to head the party for another five years, a party official said.

The party is in crisis, split into two factions.

The larger group supports Guessan while the dissidents back Abdoudramane Sangare, a close ally of Gbagbo.

Gbagbo is the first ex-head of state to be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges arising out of the post-election violence which wracked the Ivory Coast in 2010 to 2011.

About 3,000 people died in the turmoil that swept Abidjan — once one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities — in the aftermath of the November 2010 presidential polls when Gbagbo refused to accept defeat to bitter rival Alassane Ouattara, who remains in power.

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