Former Ivory Coast president retains party post

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — The Democratic Party of Ivory Coast says former President Henri Konan Bedie has retained his party leadership post after delegates overwhelmingly backed him even though he technically was too old to run under existing rules.

The Sunday morning announcement paves the way for Bedie to run for president again in Ivory Coast’s next election in 2015 when he will be well into his 80s.

Bedie won the weekend election with 93 percent of the vote, fending off a challenge from two other candidates including the president of the party’s youth branch whose supporters argued it was time for a change.

Bedie, who led the country from 1993 to 1999, is nicknamed “the Sphinx of Daoukro,” his hometown, for being unmovable. He placed third in Ivory Coast’s 2010 presidential election.

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