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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 21:15 GMT
African leaders name Ivorian PM
Charles Konan Banny (file picture)
Konan Banny has the task of taking Ivory Coast to free, fair elections
African mediators have named an interim prime minister for Ivory Coast - Central Bank of West African States governor Charles Konan Banny.

Mr Konan Banny will get powers to run an interim government and organise presidential elections in a bid to resolve the state's political crisis.

The Nigerian and South African leaders have been trying to find an interim PM acceptable to government and rebels.

Ivory Coast split three years ago when New Forces rebels seized the north.

In October, a presidential election in Ivory Coast was cancelled, and a United Nations resolution called for President Laurent Gbagbo to stay in power for up to another year.

It also said a transitional prime minister should be appointed, with reinforced powers.


Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki had travelled to Ivory Coast to broker talks on the deadlock.

"The prime minister for the transition period, which is planned to end in October 2006, is Mr Charles Konan Banny," Mr Obasanjo and Mr Mbeki said in a joint statement in Abidjan.

Presidential elections were not held on the scheduled date of 30 October because the country is still divided, full of militias and because electoral rolls have not been updated.

Some 6,000 French troops are in the west African country along with 4,000 UN troops, monitoring a buffer zone between rebel forces and the army.

The rebel New Forces had insisted that their leader Guillaume Soro be named prime minister but this was rejected by Mr Gbagbo's supporters.


Correspondents say the new Ivorian prime minister is reputed to be competent and strong-willed.

He will be responsible for disarming the rebels and the militia who support President Gbagbo.

The two African heads of state consulted widely with the Ivorian political class over the choice, the BBC's James Copnall reports from Abidjan.

Mr Konan Banny has been a member of the former ruling Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI), now in opposition.

In recent months, the opposition press has accused him of supporting the president.

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