Gbagbo, Laurent (Côte d’Ivoire)
Laurent Gbagbo took over the presidency in Oct. 2000, succeeding Robert Guéï who had been forced into exile after claiming victory in a disputed presidential election. Gbagbo subsequently oversaw a long period of political and economic instability and fighting between the rebel, largely Muslim, north of the country and the government-controlled and mainly Christian south before a more enduring power-sharing agreement was concluded in March 2007. Following delayed presidential elections held in Oct.–Nov. 2010, Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara despite mounting international pressure. Following a short period of conflict, Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011. In Nov. he was extradited to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity.
Gbagbo was born on 31 May 1945 in Gagnoa in the mid-west of the country. He graduated in history and was jailed in the early 1970s for subversive teaching. Increasingly...