Bongo re-elected Gabon pres­i­dent

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

GABON’S in­te­rior min­istry has de­clared in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Ali Bongo as the win­ner of the coun­try’s close­ly­fought pres­i­den­tial race.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Pa­come Moubelet Boubeya said yes­ter­day that Bongo had won 49.80 per­cent per­cent of the vote and ri­val can­di­date Jean Ping had won 48.23 per­cent.

Elec­tion com­mis­sion mem­bers be­long­ing to the op­po­si­tion de­nounced the vote, which one com­mis­sioner for Ping’s party, Paul Marie Gond­jout, said was “stolen”.

Cather­ine Soi, Al Jazeera’s cor­re­spon­dent in the cap­i­tal Libreville, said Ping’s camp has re­jected the re­sult. “They say they will not ac­cept this re­sult at all,” Soi said. “Protests have started. Protests are ex­pected to con­tinue,” she said, adding that what ap­peared to be clouds of tear gas and smoke could be seen over parts of the city.

“Jean Ping has been telling his sup­port­ers not to ac­cept a vote that is not favourable to him.... He is telling his peo­ple to de­fend their vote, to de­fend their choice.”

Se­cu­rity forces used tear gas and stun grenades against protesters shout­ing “Ali must go!” who tried to reach the head­quar­ters of the elec­tion com­mis­sion in Libreville, AFP news agency re­ported.

Bongo (57) has now won a sec­ond term as head of the tiny oil-rich state pre­vi­ously ruled for 41 years by his father, Omar.

In 2009, Bongo was de­clared win­ner of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion after his father’s death. The re­sult was dis­puted and in the en­su­ing clashes sev­eral peo­ple were killed, build­ings looted and the French con­sulate in the eco­nomic cap­i­tal Port-Gen­til was torched.

Prior to be­com­ing Bongo’s bit­ter ri­val, Ping, a 73-yearold ca­reer diplo­mat well-known on the in­ter­na­tional scene, worked with Bongo se­nior for many years.

The Euro­pean Union, which mon­i­tored the elec­tion, has called for Gabon to pub­lish “de­tailed re­sults” for ev­ery polling sta­tion and urged all ac­tors to help keep the peace.

“We in­vite all stake­hold­ers to ex­er­cise re­straint, work to main­tain civil peace in the post-elec­toral con­text and make use of le­gal chan­nels to re­solve any dis­pute,” the EU said. — Al Jazeera

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