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.
Ping, a diplomat and former African Union official, lost the presidential bid to incumbent Ali Bongo by less than 6,000 votes, according to figures from the country’s electoral commission. The results, released August 31, show that Bongo won 49.8% of the vote, while Ping had 48.23%. Ping and his supporters say the numbers are fraudulent and demand a recount.
International observers reported some irregularities with the count and asked the electoral commission to publish the results for each individual polling station.
The European Union’s election monitoring mission in Gabon said Tuesday that the 99.03% turnout in the province of Haut-Ogooué, Bongo’s stronghold, was nearly double the national average. It said analysis of the votes in the province revealed “obvious abnormalities.”