Ivorian PM flies to France for visits

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ABIDJAN – Ivorian Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, the ruling party’s candidate for the presidential elections in October, has traveled to France for medical examinations, the presidency announced on Sunday.

The brief statement said that Gon Coulibaly left on Saturday, but gave no details on his condition.

A source close to Gon Coulibaly, who underwent heart surgery in 2012, said the Prime Minister had missed a scheduled test in France in April because he was busy coordinating the response of the coronavirus in Côte d’Ivoire.

“His intense activity in recent weeks has had an impact on his health, but it is not very serious. He is doing well, “said the source, adding that Gon Coulibaly would return to Côte d’Ivoire in a few days.

Defense Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who recovered from the coronavirus last month, will serve as interim prime minister in the absence of Gon Coulibaly, the presidency statement said.

Gon Coulibaly self-isolated in late March due to possible exposure to the coronavirus but was not tested positive.

President Alassane Ouattara nominated Gon Coulibaly in March as the ruling party’s candidate for the RHDP for the presidential election after declaring that he would not seek a third term himself.

Côte d’Ivoire has recorded more than 1,300 cases of coronavirus, one of the highest totals in West Africa, with 15 deaths. (Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Frances Kerry and Edmund Blair)

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