President Ali Bongo’s ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) has won a legislative election by a landslide in the first round, the presidency said. “We have observed what looks like a landslide in favour of the [ruling] majority,” presidential spokesman Ike Ngouoni said on Sunday, citing results posted publicly at voting stations. He said the PDG had won 80 of the 143 seats in the national parliament. Ngouoni said turnout was “relatively weak”. The presidential spokesman said the electoral authority would announce definitive results later Sunday or on Monday.
Oil-rich Gabon, ruled by the same political dynasty for nearly half a century, votes on Saturday in long-delayed legislative and municipal polls after a presidential election two years ago that was marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud. The controversial re-election of President Ali Bongo in August 2016 by just a few thousand votes led opposition leader Jean Ping to claim that victory had been stolen from him. Violence broke out and dozens of people were killed according to the opposition, but the government says only four died. Ping’s headquarters was bombed and the opposition also claimed that widespread human rights abuses were committed by armed militias that took to the streets.
Ali Bongo was sworn back in as Gabon’s president Tuesday, calling for unity after a disputed election win that sparked deadly unrest and revealed deep divisions in the oil-rich country. The 57-year-old used the ceremony to appeal for unity after the deadly violence that followed the announcement of his victory last month. He pledged to ensure “equal opportunities” for all in the new government “which I will name in a few days.” Government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze said Bongo wanted to install “a unity government by this week or the start of next week”.
Libreville’s nearly empty streets were under the watch of a heavy police and military presence Saturday after Gabon’s top court upheld President Ali Bongo’s re-election in bitterly disputed polls. Security force checkpoints dotted routes into the capital’s centre, helicopters hovered overhead and elite troops protected the presidential palace, but no violence had been reported. The Constitutional Court, while partially changing the results of the close Aug. 27 vote, said Bongo maintained a lead over his former ally-turned-opponent Jean Ping, at a televised public hearing overnight Friday-Saturday.
Opposition leader Jean Ping on Saturday lashed a decision by Gabon’s top court to validate President Ali Bongo’s re-election, as police and troops patrolled the deserted streets of Libreville to prevent a new flareup of violence. Ping accused the Constitutional Court of “bias (and) miscarriage of justice” following a ruling early Saturday that upheld Bongo’s disputed victory in the August 27 presidential election. “I will not retreat. As president clearly elected by the Gabonese people, I remain at your side to defend your vote and your sovereignty,” Ping said. Concern has been growing that a ruling in favour of Bongo, in power since the death of his long-ruling father Omar Bongo in 2009, could spark more of the deadly unrest Gabon saw after the president’s re-election was announced.
Gabon’s ambassador to the United States has said that a recount of votes in the country’s controversial August election would be impossible, since the ballots had been burned, despite announcing a review of the result on Monday. Michael Moussa-Adamo, the Central African country’s representative to the U.S., stated in a letter to the New York Times on Monday that the Gabonese Constitutional Court would undertake a review of the election result, including a “recount of the vote.” The country’s electoral commission declared President Ali Bongo Ondimba the winner of the vote, sparking violent protests among supporters of opposition candidate Jean Ping.
Gabon’s constitutional court is to rule as early as Friday who will be the country’s next president, ending weeks of uncertainty after disputed polls sparked a political crisis and violent protests. Incumbent President Ali Bongo, the son of late autocratic ruler Omar Bongo, was declared the winner of the August 27 election by a margin of fewer than 6,000 votes. But rival Jean Ping, a career diplomat and former chairman of the African Union Commission, filed a legal challenge and demanded a recount, saying that the vote was fraudulent. The court met Thursday and had retired to consider its verdict. It has the choice of either upholding the original result or overturning it.
Gabonese officials announced this week that the country’s Constitutional Court will recount votes from last month’s controversial presidential election, when incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba defeated opposition leader Jean Ping by just 5,594 votes. Now they’re threatening to arrest Ping if he disagrees with the court’s results and protests in the capital of Libreville turn violent again. In an exclusive interview Wednesday with Foreign Policy, Gabonese Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Moussa-Adamo said that Ping’s goal has been “to create chaos so that the international community will step in and rule the country.” Were that to happen, he predicted, Ping would eventually try to organize new elections and take over the presidency. Moussa-Adamo’s comments, in New York, followed a Libreville press conference Wednesday where government spokesman Alain-Claude Bilie told reporters that “if [Ping] crosses the line, he will be arrested.” Gabon has garnered international attention in the past month as protesters have taken to the streets, claiming the August elections were rigged in favor of Bongo, whose family has ruled the oil-rich nation for decades. Bongo’s camp insists there was no rigging on its side, and has accused Ping of agitating his supporters in order to destabilize the country. It’s unclear how many people have been killed in the post-election violence, as the opposition claims upwards of 100 are dead and the government says the real count is a fraction of that. Around 1,000 people have been arrested.
The presidential elections in Gabon have been keeping those following the outcome of the race on the edge of their seats for several days. The vote took place on Saturday 26 August, but results were only announced late on Wednesday afternoon. According to the final tally announced by the minister of the interior, the incumbent Ali Bongo won by 49.8%, while his rival, Jean Ping, got 48.23%. Just over 628 000 people took part in the vote in the Central African country of 1.8 million inhabitants. The opposition strongly disputes this outcome and says votes were manipulated – especially in Bongo’s stronghold of Haut-Ogooué, where the incumbent got over 90% of the votes. Following the announcement of the results, opposition supporters reportedly torched a part of the Parliament building in Libreville – an ominous sign of possible escalating post-election violence. Ping (73), a former foreign minister who headed the African Union Commission between 2008 and 2012, was confident earlier in the race. He told the media on Sunday, 29 August – a day after the vote and before any results were released – that he had won the elections and that his predecessor should accept it. He repeated this statement on Tuesday saying that his opponent, Bongo (57) should prepare to hand over power.
Gabon’s Constitutional Court will recount the ballots cast in presidential elections last month following days of violent protests against the outcome that showed President Ali Bongo won by fewer than 10,000 votes, according to the nation’s ambassador to the U.S. “A recount of the vote will be completed by the Constitutional Court and the winner confirmed,” Michael Moussa-Adamo said in a letter late Monday to the New York Times. “The State Department and the African Union stated that any challenge to the election results conform to Gabonese election law. The Constitutional Court’s review will also conform to the law.” He didn’t say when the recount will take place.
Most observers, myself included, expected Gabon’s incumbent president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to win his country’s election late last month. Few, however—again including me—anticipated the degree of violence and apparent fraud that would accompany the process. Bongo is now reconsolidating power in the aftermath of an intensely contested election. If his victory stands, it will demonstrate that Gabon’s opposition has few tools with which to challenge the results, and that the international community has little will to sanction Bongo and his inner circle. When elections were held on Aug. 27, Bongo barely won. Gabon’s electoral framework stipulated that the winner needed a plurality, rather than a majority, of the vote. With the opposition surprisingly unified around one candidate, Jean Ping, a former African Union Commission chairman and Gabonese Cabinet minister, the election became a two-man race. The official results gave Bongo 49.8 percent and Ping 48.23 percent, with eight other candidates dividing the remaining roughly 2 percent of the vote.
The African Union says it plans to send observers to help Gabon’s Constitutional Court with a legal complaint lodged by opposition leader Jean Ping, who accuses President Ali Bongo of cheating to secure victory in an election last month. The dispute has led to riots that killed at least six people and brought unwelcome international scrutiny for Bongo, whose family has ruled the central African OPEC member for nearly 50 years. Ping, who officially lost by fewer than 6,000 votes, last week applied to the court to authorise a recount in the Haut-Ogooue province, Bongo’s stronghold, where the president won 95 percent of the votes on a 99.9 percent turnout. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union requested that its executive branch deploy observers from other French-speaking African countries “to assist the Constitutional Court of Gabon”, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Gabon: Civil society calls for an international inquiry on the post-electoral “massacres” | AfricaNews
A Civil society group, an association of Europeans and Africans named “ Collective turn the page” has requested for an international inquiry on the military and police repression that followed the post-election violence in Gabon, in which at least six people were killed. A popular revolt had followed the re-election of outgoing President Ali Bongo Ondimba “creating a military repression” in the Central African country. Some Families are still in search of their relations who have disappeared since August 31, following the announcement of the provisional results of the presidential elections granting victory to President Bongo. The civil-society group is requesting for an international probe on the massacre of civilians by the repression forces.
Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping has appealed to the country’s highest court contesting last month’s presidential election — results that have led to deadly violence with opposition supporters protesting in the central African nation. Ping lodged a complaint Thursday with the Constitutional Court, his campaign team told CNN, demanding a vote recount. “I am committed to defend the vote of Gabon,” Ping said in a statement after meeting Friday with supporters in Libreville, the capital. “If the Gabonese people do not recognize themselves in the decision handed down by the Constitutional Court, I will stand by their side, by the side of the people to demand they respect Article 9 of the constitution that states unambiguously that the election of the president of the republic is gained by the candidate who obtains the most votes,” he said.
Gabon’s Jean Ping took his bid to have a wafer-thin presidential election loss overturned to the country’s top court Friday, as President Ali Bongo blamed the opposition leader for creating a climate of violence. Days of riots followed the August 31 announcement handing Bongo a narrow victory with a margin of some 6,000 votes, and Ping warned of more trouble to come if the court, which has 15 days to decide, rejects his recount appeal. “I greatly fear that another false step by the Constitutional Court will be the cause of deep and long-lasting instability in Gabon,” Ping told hundreds of supporters in Libreville. “If the Constitutional Court ignores the reality of the Gabonese vote, the people, who would have nothing left to lose… will take the future into their own hands,” said Ping, who continues to refer to himself as “president-elect”.
Gabon’s opposition leader lodged a constitutional court challenge on Thursday against a presidential election he narrowly lost, hoping to overturn a result whose validity has been questioned at home and abroad. Former foreign minister Jean Ping lost the Aug. 27 election to President Ali Bongo by fewer than 6,000 votes, an outcome that sparked days of riots in which at least six people were killed. Ping’s spokesman said in a statement he would seek a recount in the province of Haut-Ogooue, a stronghold of the Bongo family, who have ruled the central African oil-producing nation of 1.8 million for nearly half a century.
The European Union observation mission in Gabon said Tuesday it noted an anomaly in voting results from President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s stronghold province that pushed him over the edge to win re-election by a slim margin. Election commission results showed Mr. Bongo beat opposition contender Jean Ping in Gabon’s Aug. 27 presidential vote by 1.57 percentage points. Clashes quickly broke out in the Central African country after the results were announced last week, with opposition supporters claiming fraud and burning buildings and looting stores. Mr. Ping on Friday declared himself the rightful winner of the vote.
Gabonese President Ali Bongo, who has been accused by opposition politicians of voter fraud, resisted calls Wednesday for a recount of votes cast in the country’s presidential election, saying he has no power to order one. European Union observers in Gabon have said there was an “obvious anomaly” in election results that showed Bongo narrowly defeating challenger Jean Ping. The EU observer mission to Gabon is questioning results from Upper Ogooue province, a Bongo stronghold where the incumbent president officially won 95 percent of the votes amid 99 percent voter turnout. The opposition has said the vote tallies in the province were vastly inflated. In a statement Tuesday, the EU mission noted that turnout was significantly lower in Gabon’s eight other provinces, averaging just 48 percent nationwide. “An analysis of the number of non-voters and blank and spoiled ballots reveals an obvious anomaly in the final results of Upper Ogooue,” it said. “…the integrity of the provisional results in this province is consequently compromised.”
An African strongman accused of rigging elections in his own country is preparing to mediate between the two sides contesting the result of last week’s poll in Gabon. Chad’s president, Idriss Déby, who has ruled his country for 26 years, is expected to lead an African Union delegation that is preparing to go to Libreville to try to resolve the crisis. Both sides claimed victory, and post-election clashes between protesters and Gabon’s security forces have left up to 100 people dead, according to the opposition. Hundreds of people been have arrested, the national parliament was torched and the opposition headquarters stormed.
Gabon’s Justice Minister Seraphin Moundounga has resigned over the disputed re-election of President Ali Bongo, becoming the first high-level government official to step down since the vote. Gabon’s election commission announced last week that Bongo won the election over opposition leader Jean Ping by about 5,000 votes, leading to protests and street violence that has left at least six people dead. Moundounga told Radio France International on Monday that the government is not responding to concerns about the need for peace, which lead to his decision to step down.
Tension eased in Gabon’s capital on Saturday after days of deadly rioting triggered by an announcement that President Ali Bongo narrowly won re-election in a vote the opposition said was stolen. More than 1,000 others were arrested in the protests that began on Wednesday and the opposition, led by Jean Ping who claims he is now president, said five people also died. Shops began to re-open on Saturday and some traffic returned to the streets as the government sought to restore stability with mass arrests and a heavy security presence. At the same time some impoverished residents of Libreville who need to buy food every day said they hoped for a return to normality given the hardship caused by closed shops and markets. “The last few days were really difficult for us. The fact that traffic has started to move is very important … because our families have really suffered,” said Alex Ndong, 42, a mechanic who lives in the Lalala suburb of south Libreville. “I hope everything goes back to normal as quickly as possible,” he said.
Postelection violence in Gabon left one person dead on Thursday after officials declared the incumbent president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the winner in a race that the opposition said had been marked by fraud. A civilian, who was not identified, died as security forces encircled the party headquarters of the opposition candidate, Jean Ping, early Thursday after hundreds of people had taken to the streets of the capital, Libreville. The protesters had set fires and insisted that Mr. Bongo had stolen the vote to claim a second term in office. Violence surged almost immediately after the release of election results Wednesday night that said Mr. Bongo, whose family has held the presidency since the late 1960s, had narrowly edged out Mr. Ping in voting on Saturday. The military was sent in to quell the demonstrations, aiming tear gas at protesters who were demanding a recount.
Demonstrators in Gabon clashed with police and set part of the parliament building on fire on Wednesday amid anger among opposition supporters over President Ali Bongo’s re-election in polls that his main rival, Jean Ping, claimed to have won. Opposition members of the Central African oil producer’s electoral commission rejected Saturday’s first-past-the-post election result, which would see the Bongo family’s nearly half-century in power extended another seven years. France, the United States, and the European Union all urged calm on Wednesday and called upon Gabonese authorities to release the results of individual polling stations for greater transparency. Bongo won 49.80 percent of votes, compared to 48.23 percent for Ping, with a turnout of 59.46 percent, according to results announced region by region by Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya.
Security forces fanned out across Gabon’s capital and residents stockpiled food on Tuesday as the central African country awaited results of a hotly contested presidential election. The most prominent opposition candidate, Jean Ping, was looking to defeat incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba and topple a family dynasty that stretches back to the 1960s. Bongo, 57, came to power after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for more than 40 years. Ping, 73, has spent the three days since Saturday’s vote predicting victory and calling on Bongo to step down. Bongo’s camp, meanwhile, has said the president is sure to win.
Gabon’s presidential election “lacked transparency”, the head of the 73-strong EU electoral monitoring team in the country said on Monday, a day before the official results were due out. Speaking to reporters in the capital Libreville, Bulgarian MEP Mariya Gabriel said Saturday’s vote in the oil-rich Central African country, was “managed in a way that lacked transparency.” “The mission condemns the lack of transparency in the electoral bodies which failed to make essential information available to the campaigns, like the electoral roll or a list of polling stations,” she said. The EU observers said that a week before the election only half of voters had received their ballot cards. The remarks came after a bitterly disputed election in which both sides accused the other of electoral fraud. Official results will not be published until Tuesday, and there are fears that the tensions may erupt into a repeat of the violence seen after the disputed 2009 election.
Supporters of Gabon’s president and his chief rival have both said they expect to win an election that has proved to be the most serious challenge yet to the Bongo family’s half-century rule. The rival, Jean Ping, 73, traded accusations of fraud that raised the prospect of increased tension in the wake of an uncharacteristically bitter campaign. Ping distributed figures showing him easily beating incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba in Saturday’s vote. “The general trends indicate we are the winner of this important presidential election,” Ping told reporters and a large crowd of cheering supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters in the capital, Libreville. “Despite numerous irregularities … you have managed to thwart this regime’s congenital traps of fraud.”
Election placards along the main highways of Libreville, capital of Gabon, praise President Ali Bongo and his Gabonese Democratic Party for building kilometers of tarmac roads, creating new jobs and attracting foreign investment. Bongo is seeking to convince voters that his plans for modernization and development can turn Gabon into an emerging economy. His critics accuse him of wanting to install a dictatorship. Bongo’s rival for the presidency is Jean Ping, a former chairman of the African Union Commission and leader of the Gabonese Progress Party. The popular 74-year-old is promising reforms and is critical of the current condition of the Gabonese judiciary. “One of the most important measures that we must carry out is to restore the independence and credibility of the justice system,” he said. In his campaign speeches, Ping says he wants more democracy. He is also promising improvements to infrastructure and health.
Gabon voted on Saturday amid discontent over its failure to raise living standards despite oil wealth, in a poll posing the biggest challenge yet to President Ali Bongo, whose family has run the central African nation for half a century. With state machinery and entrenched patronage networks behind him, Bongo, 57, is likely to be returned, seven years after winning his first election following the death of his father Omar, who ruled for 42 years. Polls closed at 7 p.m. (2.00 p.m ET), an hour late to allow people were still waiting to vote to do so. Voting was mostly calm, although witnesses said a few scuffles broke out in one area as tempers flared in long queues to cast ballots. Results are not expected until Monday or Tuesday, although partial results may start trickling out on Sunday. Land and sea borders were shut on Saturday until 8 p.m. (1900 GMT).
Hot on the heels of the Zambian election, an anxiously awaited election is looming in Gabon where President Ali Bongo Ondimba and his motley opponents are rounding off campaigns. Ahead of next Saturday’s election, tension is high with increased police presence in capital Libreville. Fourteen candidates have been approved by the electoral commission. Bongo’s main challenger is former African Union Commission chief Jean Ping who was selected by opposition barons. Bongo is seeking a second seven-year term even as the Opposition challenges his eligibility.
Gabon’s main opposition parties chose former foreign minister Jean Ping as their candidate in an election on Aug. 27 against President Ali Bongo, who is standing for a second term. Ping, aged 74, is considered one of Africa’s foremost diplomats. He has served as chairman of the African Union commission and as president of the U.N. General Assembly. “I understand the gravity of the task I have been given,” Ping told thousands of cheering supporters in Libreville. “I won’t disappoint you.” Ping has an unusual history for an African politician. His father was a Chinese businessman who came to Gabon in the 1930s, married the daughter of a traditional chief and grew rich trading goods including timber and seafood. Ping came to wealth and prominence as an ally and protege of Omar Bongo, the father of Ali Bongo. But he fell out with the son and resigned from the ruling party in 2014 to become a vehement government critic.