Alassane Ouattara, president of the Ivory Coast, said Saturday he would run for a third term next year if historic rivals Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bedie were candidates too.
"I intend to transfer power to a new generation but I will only do so if all those of my generation understand that our time has passed," Ouattara told a rally in Katiola, northern Ivory Coast.
"If they decide to be candidates, then I will be a candidate" as well, the president added.
"I do not want Ivory Coast to fall back into the hands of those who destroyed our country, those who wasted public resources," Ouattara said.
The October 2020 election is a key challenge for the Ivory Coast after its disputed 2010-2011 ballot ended in violence between rival supporters that left 3,000 people dead.
That vote pitted supporters of Ouattara against those of Gbabgo, who was later tried by an international court in connection with the violence.
At a news conference later on Saturday, Ouattara came back to the question, saying that "if those of my generation think of going forward, the constitution allows me to serve two more mandates."
Opposition parties in the country contest a 2016 constitutional change that authorises the 77-year-old president to run for another term in office however.
Bedie, 85, is another former president who has yet to officially declare whether or not he will run again.
Gbagbo, 74, lives in Belgium after being granted a conditional release by the International Criminal Court in The Hague following an acquittal on charges related to the post-electoral violence in 2011.