On Thursday the Government of Gabon declared Ali Ben Bongo, the eldest son of the late Omar Bongo, the winner of the weekend presidential elections. Ben Bongo was the country’s defence minister under his late father’s regime. He campaigned with a private jet and plastered the capital with billboards. Ali Ben Bongo won with 41.7 percent of the vote. The announcement was made by Interior Minister Jean-Francois Ndongou on state TV. The top two opposition leaders: Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mamboundou received 25.8 and 25.2 percent of the vote respectively.
Pierre Mamboundou spent the night flanked by supporters in a public square next to the election commission. He called the results “fraud”. His party had tabulated the total results of individual polling stations and found that he had around 40 percent of the vote with Bongo snaring less than 30. “It’s not just a possibility of fraud. Its fraud pure and simple,” he said, He went on to say that the Gabonese people do not want a dynasty. Bongo’s Dad Omar had ruled Gabon for 42 years.
The government had failed to declare a winner as scheduled, prompting opposition leaders and hundreds of supporters camping out overnight in the main square flanking the election commission’s office. Police used tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. This election saw eighteen candidates running for Gabon’s top job. Former Prime Minister Cassimir Oye Mba dropped out the day of the vote, citing fears of post-election violence. Because of the reported widespread voter irregularities, this election results could create a problem of legitimacy for the new President.
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