Ivorian Popular Front
Published 5th December, 2011
The Ivorian Popular Front or FPI was founded in 1982 by the then exiled Laurent Gbagbo. It describes itself as centre-left and believes in social democracy, democratic socialism and left-wing nationalism.
The FPI was not a legalised party until May 1990 when it went on to lead a coalition of the Ivorian Workers’ Party, the Ivorian Socialist Party and the Union of Social Democrats. The coalition agreed to endorse Gbagbo as their presidential candidate in the 1990 presidential election but he only managed to get 18.32% of the vote against incumbent Félix Houphouët-Boigny. In the general election the FPI was able to pick up nine seats for the first time.
In December 1994 Gbagbo was once more endorsed as the FPI presidential candidate but the party subsequently decided to boycott the election. They did, however, fight the general election of 1995 and won 12 seats, an increase of three in the 175 seat National Assembly.
A military coup ended the domination of the PDCI in 1999 and in the subsequent 2000 presidential elections Laurent Gbagbo was victorious, taking 59.4% of the vote in the first round. The party also did well in the 2000/2011 general election when they added 84 seats to their tally, taking 96 of the 225 seats in the National Assembly.
Civil war struck soon afterwards and it wasn’t until 2007 that a formal peace deal was signed. Elections were scheduled for soon after, but the presidential election only took place in October/November 2010.
Although the international community declared the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara the winner, Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office and a tussle for control continued until Gbagbo was finally arrested by Ouattara backed forces with the help of the French on 11th April 2011.
Gbagbo has subsequently been charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC). A general election is to be held on 11th December 2011, the first in ten years but the FPI have said that they will boycott the poll.
The FPI was a member of Socialist International until 2011 when it was suspended as a result of the crisis following the 2010 presidential election.