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Monday, 30 March, 1998, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Ivorian ex-premier to quit IMF for return to politics

Ivorian former prime minister Alassane Ouattara will return to political life in time for the presidential elections in the year 2000, Radio France Internationale reported.

Ouattara served as prime minister from 1990 to 1993 under the late President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, but did not stand in the divisive 1995 presidential elections.

He became deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, but announced in Abidjan on Sunday that he would leave the IMF in the second quarter of 1999, when his contract there ends.

"I will return home to be at the disposal of my country, and also to contribute to its development.

This implies that, having held a political office, I cannot stay out of politics," he told reporters before returning to his job in Washington.

The radio broadcast his remarks.

He did not say whether he would run for president, but the radio said his return ought to reunite the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) party, which it said "is torn apart at present" .

The RDR was hit by the recent defection to the government of Adama Coulibaly, the party's erstwhile second-in-command, the radio said.

The RDR considers Ouattara to be its tacit candidate for the 2000 poll, the radio said.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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