Ivory Coast presidential hopeful Gon Coulibaly dies aged 61

Ivory Coast's PM Amadou Gon Coulibaly has died after falling ill at a ministerial meeting.

The 61-year-old had been chosen as the ruling party's candidate for October's presidential election, after Alassane Ouattara said he would not seek a third term in office.

Coulibaly, known as "AGC", returned to the Ivory Coast last week after a two-month absence. The prime minister left had left on May 2 for medical treatment in France despite the closure of borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His death throws the October presidential election into disarray and now raises concerns about who will represent the party of President Ouattara, who is steppng down after his second term.

Ouattara's party has been in power since the post-election violence a decade ago, which left more than 3,000 people dead after then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a run-off vote.

In the early 1990s, Amadou Gon Coulibaly worked as a technical adviser to Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. He was a member of the National Assembly from 1995 to 1999, and then from 2011 until his death.He also served as Mayor of Korhogo.

President Ouattara appointed Coulibaly as prime minister on 10 January 2017. At the RDR's Third Ordinary Congress in September 2017, Coulibaly was designated as first Vice-President of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), the ruling party. When Ouattara dissolved the government amid tensions within the governing coalition in 2018, Coulibaly was re-appointed to form a new government.

He was the ruling party's candidate in the 2020 Ivorian presidential election and had been among the favourites to win