Jean Ping rejects ruling upholding Bongo’s win
Opposition leader urges people to remain vigilant and mobilised
REUTERS/ Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping on Saturday rejected what he said was an “unjust” ruling by the Constitutional Court, which upheld the victory of President Ali Bongo in the August 27 poll that he says was tarnished by fraud.
The refusal by Ping, who says he won the presidential poll, to accept the court ruling raises the prospect of a potentially violent political crisis in the central African oil producer.
The court had agreed to Ping’s petition to re-examine results in Haut- Ogooue province, where Bongo was declared to have won 95 per cent on a turnout of 99.9 per cent.
However, in a ruling late on Friday, it refused to accept copies of vote tally sheets provided as evidence by Ping, stating he failed to prove their authenticity.
Speaking to supporters and reporters at his residence in the capital Libreville, Ping called for people to “remain vigilant and mobilised”.
“We will ensure the choice of the Gabonese people is respected. 2016 will not be 2009,” Ping said.
Bongo came to power in a contentious 2009 election following the death of his father Omar Bongo, who was president of Gabon for 42 years.
Ping, a lifelong political insider in Gabon who has also served as chairman of the African Union Commission, was a close ally of Omar Bongo.
President Bongo sought to ease tensions on Saturday, calling for dialogue and promising a new inclusive government. He rejected the option of international mediation.
Gabonese opposition candidate Jean Ping greets supporters outside his campaign headquarters after proclaiming he won the presidential election in Libreville, Gabon, on August 28