GABON: Opposition Leader Challenges Elections Results in Court

LIBREVILLE SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 (CISA) – Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping lodged a constitutional court challenge September 8 against a presidential election he narrowly lost.

Jean Ping a former foreign minister lost the August 27 election to President Ali Bongo by less than 6,000 votes, an outcome whose validity has been questioned at home and abroad and which sparked days of riots in which at least six people were killed, reported Reuters.

Ping would seek a recount in the province of Haut-Ogooue, a stronghold of the Bongo family, where European Union has reported anomalies and where according to Ping “the numbers were inflated to give President Bongo victory,” his spokesman said in a statement.

According to official results from Haut-Ogooue 95.46 percent of voters backed President Bongo on a turnout of 99.9 percent, more than double the participation rate of other regions.

There have been reiterated calls for a recount from the international community including France, with  a foreign ministry spokesman saying a “transparent, impartial examination of the results” was needed to resolve the political crisis. President Bongo has however said only the court can consider that request but Ping has also said he  has little faith in the court, which he says is tied to the government.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet said an African Union (AU) mediation mission, that was due to arrive in Libreville today, had been postponed until further notice.

President Ali Bongo was re-elected after coming to power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled for 42 years. Ping, a former African Union Commission chairman, was an ally of Omar Bongo but fell out with his son and resigned from the ruling party in 2014.

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