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 Official results will not be published until Tuesday, and there are fears that the tensions may erupt into a repeat of the violence seen after the disputed 2009 election.
Opposition candidate Jean Ping, who has claimed victory in the vote which pitted him against the incumbent Ali Bongo, on Monday accused the Cenap national election commission of “manipulation” and tampering with the outcome of the poll.
“The people of Gabon, who have mobilised massively… and want me to run the country will never accept having the victory, their victory, stolen from them,” the 73-year-old said at his campaign headquarters in Libreville.
“(They) will defend by all means the victory that civil and military hawks now want to steal,” he said, flanked by figures formerly associated with the Bongo regime who have supported his campaign.