Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo vowed on Sunday to continue in politics "until my
death" as he launched a new party following his acquittal by the International Criminal Court and return from a decade abroad.
"We will resume our journey together," Gbagbo told delegates in his first speech before a big audience since his return to Ivory coast in mid-June.
"I will be in politics until I die!" he added, to a standing ovation. Gbagbo was, as expected, elected leader of the new party during the congress.
"Look at the world and see which are the powerful ones, they are the big countries of size, China, the United States, Russia, Canada," he told his audience.
"As long as we are in micro-states we are nothing. African States unite!" he added, referring to one of the major congress themes -- African sovereignty in the face of the influence of Western powers.
Political representatives from a dozen African countries attended this weekend's congress.
The 76-year-old, whose 2000-2011 rule was marked by turbulence and division in the world's biggest cocoa producer, has been highly visible since returning.
He was removed from office in April 2011 after a short civil war that claimed 3,000 lives, sparked by his refusal to accept electoral defeat by the current president, Alassane Ouattara.
Gbagbo was then flown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity resulting from the conflict, but was eventually acquitted.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters)