Laurent Gbagbo

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Laurent Koudou Gbagbo (born May 31, 1945) is the president of Cte d'Ivoire (since 2000).

From Gagnoa, he was professor of history at the University of Cocody-Abidjan, and later dean of the faculty of Languages and Cultures. He founded the Ivorian People's Front (Front populaire ivoirien) in 1982, but went into exile in France in 1985. He returned in 1988.

Gbagbo ran in the presidential election of 1990, but received only 11% of the vote against the country's veteran leader, Flix Houphout-Boigny. He later became minister of education as a member of the FPI. He ran for president against the military ruler Robert Gu in the elections of October 22, 2000; when Gu claimed victory, a popular revolt in favor of Gbagbo (who claimed he had actually won with 59.4% of the vote) broke out in the capital, Abidjan. Gu was forced to flee, and Gbagbo became president on October 26.

On September 19, 2002, rebellious soldiers attempted to seize the cities of Abidjan, Bouak, and Korhogo. They failed to take Abijdan, but were successful in the other two, respectively in the center and north of the country. The situation quickly developed into a civil war between a government-held south and a rebel-held north, but after several months of fighting a peace agreement was reached and French peacekeepers arrived to patrol a cease-fire line. According to the terms of the agreement, Gbagbo would remain in office (the rebels had previously demanded his resignation), but a new unity government would be formed under a "neutral" prime minister, including the FPI, the civilian opposition and representatives of the rebel groups. The agreement has been opposed by many of the president's supporters, who believe too many concessions are being granted to the rebels and that the French are supporting the rebels' political objectives.

Early in November 2004, after the peace agreement had effectively collapsed following the rebels' refusal to disarm, Gbagbo ordered airstrikes against the rebels. During one of these airstrikes in Bouak, French soldiers were hit and nine of them were killed; the Ivorian government has said it was a mistake, but the French have claimed it was deliberate. They responded by destroying most Ivoirian military aircraft, and violent retaliatory riots against the French broke out in Abidjan. See also: Politics of Cte d'Ivoire, Civil war in Cte d'Ivoirear:لوران غباغبو de:Laurent Gbagbo es:Laurent Gbagbo fr:Laurent Gbagbo gl:Laurent Gbagbo sv:Laurent Gbagbo


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