DAKAR, Senegal

The Ivorian president appointed Defense Minister Hamed Bakayoko as the prime minister after the sudden death of his predecessor, the presidency said on Thursday.

President Alassane Ouattara nominated Bakayoko to replace former PM Amadou Gon Coulibaly who died earlier this month.

Coulibaly, 61, returned to Ivory Coast on July 2, after two months in France for medical check-up. He was hospitalized on July 8 and died there.

Bakayoko, 55, will also retain his position as the defense minister. A former journalist and businessman, he has been serving as defense minister since 2017.

*Writing by Faruk Zorlu

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