The African Union plans to send observers to Gabon, to assist the Consitutional Court with a recount of votes cast in last month’s disputed presidential election. The Peace and Security Council of the AU has asked for observers from other French-speaking nations to assist, the Mail & Guardian reports.
The recount, set for Friday, follows a formal appeal filed by opposition candidate Jean Ping. Ping’s complaint of voting irregularities has drawn support from U.S. and EU officials who encouraged a recount of the election results, which gave President Ali Bongo a victory by a narrow margin that included a statistical voter-turnout anomaly in his home region.
The AU decision comes as Africa’s international organization seeks strategies to ensure democratic election processes in several nations facing the protest violence that engulfed Gabon.
The nations include Democratic Republic of Congo, where violent clashes in recent days have claimed at least 17 lives, according to official Congolese sources. Opposition leaders, including those whose headquarters in Kinshasa were burned overnight, claim the death toll is closer to 50. The AU said Tuesday that DRC mediation talks to be led by former Togo prime minister Edem Kodjo have been suspended for 48 hours because of the unrest.
Members of the AU Peace and Security Department and the Department of Political Affairs also said Tuesday they are coordinating strategies to prevent violence in upcoming elections in Ghana, Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire.