Youssouf Bakayoko, the former president of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) in Ivory Coast, passed away in France on September 30th, 2023, at the age of 80. This former minister and diplomat is well-known for his role as the head of the CEI during the 2010 presidential election, during which he announced Alassane Ouattara’s victory over Laurent Gbagbo.
The former president of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) in Côte d’Ivoire passed away in France on September 30th, 2023. The news was announced on October 1 by Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Hydraulics, Bouaké Fofana. Youssouf Bakayoko, who died at the age of 80, played a central role in Ivorian politics and the 2010 crisis.
Shortly after his passing, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara paid tribute to the memory of a “seasoned diplomat who always prioritized the nation’s best interests.” However, while Youssouf Bakayoko served as an ambassador to Switzerland, France, and Austria, he is most prominently remembered for his role as the president of the CEI.
It was he who, on December 2, 2010, officially announced Alassane Ouattara’s victory over Laurent Gbagbo in the presidential election from the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, where he had taken refuge. This announcement was vehemently rejected by the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) and exacerbated the electoral crisis, leading to a conflict that claimed over 3,000 lives in the country.
Though later vilified by the Ivorian opposition and hailed by what would become the majority—the Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) under Alassane Ouattara—Youssouf Bakayoko, a former member of the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire-African Democratic Rally (PDCI-RDA), and former mayor of Séguéla, always managed to navigate this highly contested role as CEI president with diplomacy and political acumen until October 2019.
Following the passing of former Ivorian President Henri Konan Bédié on August 1, 2023, another central figure from the post-electoral crisis, Youssouf Bakayoko, has now departed from the Ivorian political landscape.