Bongo victory in Gabon meets with muted response

By AT editor - 26 September 2016 at 5:35 pm
Bongo victory in Gabon meets with muted response

International response was muted Monday following a weekend decision by the Constitutional Court in Gabon to uphold the contested August re-election results that return President Ali Bongo to office.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint and respect for human rights in a statement Sunday, while welcoming Bongo’s appeal for a national dialogue focused on reconciliation. Meanwhile, the head of the European Union’s electoral observer mission told AFP that the court decision fell short of addressing voting anomalies, while the African Union had yet to comment.

The ruling, announced late Friday, dismissed claims of election fraud and irregularities raised by opposition candidate Jean Ping following the August 27 election. The final results again returned Bongo to office by a slim margin, with just over 50 percent of the vote, the court ruled.

Ping’s challenge of voting irregularities included a nearly 100 percent turnout in Bongo’s home province of Haut-Ogooué – am initial result inconsistent with other Gabon voting districts – with more than 95 percent of those votes cast for Bongo. The totals then led to a defeat for Ping of less than 6,000 votes.

Security forces in Libreville, which saw violent protests in the wake of last month’s election, remain vigilant and are patrolling the Gabonese capital both in the streets and by air, Africa 54 reports.

Bongo will be sworn in to another seven-year term Tuesday at the presidential palace.

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