(Bloomberg) --

Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is establishing a new party, reclaiming a key role in local politics after spending nearly a decade in The Hague facing an International Criminal Court trial for crimes against humanity. 

About 1,600 delegates are expected to gather at the party’s founding congress in Abidjan, the economic capital, over the weekend, the organizing committee said in a statement. Gbagbo’s former party, the Ivorian Popular Front, split in his absence, with the main faction headed by its officially acknowledged leader, Pascal Affi N’Guessan.

Gbagbo’s trial followed his refusal to concede defeat to Alassane Ouattara after 2010 presidential elections, a standoff that led to a five-month civil war which left at least 3,000 people dead or missing. He was acquitted in March and returned to Ivory Coast in June. 

The 76-year-old Gbagbo, Ouattara, 79, and Henri Konan Bedie, 87, another former president, have dominated politics in the world’s top cocoa producer for decades. 


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