Côte D'ivoire - Rise to power



Although a researcher and historian, Laurent Gbagbo is a veteran of Ivoirian politics. Gbagbo began his career as teacher at the Lycée Classique in Abidjan from 1970–71. He joined the union movement, and was subsequently jailed for two years for "subversive" teaching. In 1974, he became a researcher at the Institut d'Histoire, d'Art et d'Archéologie Africaine (IHAAA—Institute of History, Art, and African Archaeology). He became director of IHAAA in 1980. In 1982 he clandestinely cofounded a radical teachers' union that would become the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI—Ivorian Popular Front) political party. He was subsequently exiled in France from 1982 to 1988 for trade union activism. Upon his return to Côte d'Ivoire, he was elected as the secretary general of the FPI, and became a member of Parliament in 1990 winning 11% of the vote. He was jailed once again in 1992 for six months, after leading demonstrations in protest against the army's intervention to crush student riots. Gbagbo claimed victory in the 2000 elections and was sworn in as president on 26 October despite doubts about the legitimacy of the election.

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