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.
The EU observer commission said in addition to not having full access to all districts within Mr. Bongo’s stronghold Haut-Ogooue province, voter turnout there appeared inflated. According to the electoral commission, there was a 99.93% turnout in that province, with 95% voting in favor of Mr. Bongo. The EU noted that such a number means only 47 people in the area wouldn’t have voted.
“An analysis of the number of non-voters and blank and spoiled ballots reveals an obvious anomaly in the final results,” it said, adding that confidence in the results is compromised. Other provinces showed on average 48% voter turnout, it said.
“In order to restore the confidence of Gabon, I reiterate my call on the Gabonese authorities to publish the poll results by polling station,” said EU observation chief Mariya Gabriel. The opposition party must legally file any complaints by Thursday, eight days after the announcement of the results.