Ivory Coast Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny named his cabinet on Wednesday, personally taking control of the Finance Ministry and including rebel leaders from the war-divided country.
The new government had been anxiously awaited as a key step towards tackling disarmament and electoral reforms to allow presidential elections next year under a U.N. peace plan.
Ivory Coast was split in two by a civil war in 2002.
Economist Banny formed the cabinet, taking the joint economy and finance portfolio, after several weeks of haggling between himself, supporters and opponents of President Laurent Gbagbo and rebels who occupy the northern half of the country.
He included two rebel leaders — Guillaume Soro as minister of reconstruction and reinsertion and Soro’s deputy, Louis Dakoury Tabley, as minister of war victims.
Serious divisions remain
Shortly after the cabinet was announced, angry supporters of Gbagbo took to the streets in protest in the country’s economic capital Abidjan, blocking main roads and burning tires. They complained Gbagbo supporters had too few jobs in the cabinet.
A civilian with a legal background, Rene Aphing Kouassi, was named as defense minister, while a senior police officer, Joseph Djable, was made minister of security.
The appointment of the cabinet will enable Banny, who was named earlier this month under the U.N. peace blueprint, to begin working on a schedule for disarmament, national reunification and elections by the end of October 2006.
The same U.N. plan allowed Gbagbo to remain in office beyond the Oct. 30 end of his five-year mandate until the polls are held in Ivory Coast, divided between a rebel-occupied north and government-held south.
The new government replaces a previous cabinet formed in the wake of the civil war that grew out of a failed coup in the world’s top cocoa grower.
The rebels have so far refused to disarm.
Former economy minister Antoine Bohoun Bouabre, a Gbagbo supporter, takes over as minister of planning and development.