Ouattara, Alassane (äläsänˈ wäˈtärä) [key], 1942–, Ivorian economist and politician, grad. Univ. of Pennsylvania (M.A. 1967, Ph.D. 1972). A Muslim from N Côte d'Ivoire, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and then at the Central Bank of West African States, Paris, becoming governor there in 1988. In 1990 he was recalled by President Houphouët-Boigny to head an economic recovery program and subsequently was named prime minister (1990–93). After the president's death (1993), Ouattara returned to the IMF as deputy managing director (1994–99).
As head of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR) party, Ouattara has been a factor in Ivorian presidential politics since the mid-1990s. In 1995 a change in the electoral laws barred him from running, and a further change disqualified him in 2000, when Laurent Gbagbo won. The disqualifications contributed to the civil war that erupted in 2002. Ouattara finally ran in 2010, facing Gbagbo in a runoff and winning, but Gbagbo manipulated the count through invalidations and, supported by the army, continued to claim the presidency. The international community, however, generally recognized Ouattara as the legitimate president. When the civil war resumed in Feb., 2011, it led to Gbagbo's capture and arrest (Apr., 2011) by northern forces supporting Ouattara, who was sworn in as president the next month.