Gabon to hold elections on August 26


Gabon is set to hold presidential, legislative and local elections on August 26, the west African country said Tuesday, with President Ali Bongo Ondimba, a strong favourite to win against a divided opposition.

Although Bongo has not yet said whether he will stand again, he is widely expected to run for re-election. His powerful Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) holds strong majorities in both houses of parliament.

The 64-year-old took over from his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who ruled the country for 41 years in 2009.

The president was narrowly re-elected in 2016, with just 5,500 more votes than rival Jean Ping who claimed the election had been fixed.

Bongo suffered a stroke in 2018 and spent months on the sidelines recovering, leaving the opposition to question his fitness to run the nation.

The Bongo family has ruled the country for 55 years already and is branded a “dynastic power” by the opposition.

But the opposition has failed to agree on a single candidate for the presidential election, leaving some 15 candidates to announce their intentions to stand.

In April, the Gabonese parliament voted to amend the constitution and reduce the president’s term from seven to five years.

Sections of the opposition criticised the changes, in particular the end of two rounds of voting, as a means of “facilitating the re-election” of Bongo.

The amendments bring all mandates into line at five years and make all elections single-round ballots again after the last changes to the constitution in 2018 set up two rounds of voting.


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