Gabon braces for court's ruling on disputed election

2016-09-23 17:35


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Libreville — Gabon braced for possible violence on Friday as the Constitutional Court was set to rule on a disputed election that President Ali Bongo won by less than 2%.

European Union observers have said they found an anomaly in results from a Bongo stronghold, Haut-Ogooue province, where turnout was said to be 99.93%. Other provinces showed a 48% voter turnout on average, the EU said.

Opposition candidate Jean Ping has accused Bongo of fraud, and he filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court early this month. Both candidates have claimed victory in the August 27 election.

The court's decision is likely to cause unrest in this oil-rich central African nation of some 1.8 million residents, where the same family has ruled since the 1960s.

Human rights 

Fiery protests erupted after the provisional results were announced at the end of August. The opposition says as many as 100 people died in the violence, while the government said three were killed. The government has said it detained more than 1200 people.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on authorities, including security agencies, to "fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms during this challenging period" as the nation awaits a ruling.

France's prime minister has suggested a recount, and the United States and France have urged the government to publish results by individual polling stations. Gabon's justice minister resigned over the government's refusal to recount the ballots.

The EU observers have said they didn't have full access to all districts in Haut-Ogooue province, where 95% of voters were reported to have supported Bongo.

Gabon's UN Ambassador Michael Moussa-Adamo has accused opposition candidate Ping of trying to rig the election.

Bongo came to power in 2009 after the death of his father, who had ruled Gabon for decades.

Read more on:    un  |  jean ping  |  ali bongo ondimba  |  ban ki-moon  |  gabon  |  central africa  |  gabon protests  |  gabon 2016 election

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