Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said on Thursday he would not run in October’s election, ending months of speculation over whether he would seek a third term.

October’s presidential election looms as a major challenge for the West African country after its 2010 vote ended in violence between political rivals that killed 3,000 people.

“I would like to solemnly announce that I will not be a candidate in the October 31, 2020 presidential election and I will transfer power to the younger generation,” Ouattara said in a speech to Congress.

“Throughout my career, I have always attached particular importance to honouring my commitments. Consequently, I have decided not to be a candidate in 2020,” Ouattara said Thursday. “It has been an honour to serve my country.”

The Ivorian president was speaking to the 352 parliamentarians gathered in Congress in the amphitheatre of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation in Yamoussoukro.

“I would like to solemnly announce that I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election of 31 October 2020 and to transfer power to a younger generation,” he subsequently wrote on his Twitter account.

Ouattara in 2011 ousted the then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after losing elections in a standoff that triggered violent street clashes.

The constitution allows only two presidential terms, but Ouattara, 78, had claimed he would be able to stand due to a constitutional change in 2016 — a claim vehemently denied by the country’s opposition.

In January he announced unspecified “modifications” to the constitution, leading to two months of rumours of a possible power grab, or a presidential age restriction in a theorised bid to sideline opposition leaders.

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