Voting closes in Gabon where president vies to extend power

2016-08-27 20:50
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba arrives to cast his vote at a polling station during the presidential election. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba arrives to cast his vote at a polling station during the presidential election. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Libreville — Voting closed on Saturday evening in Gabon, where the president is vying for re-election and voters weighed whether to maintain a family dynasty that stretches back to the 1960s.

Ali Bongo Ondimba took power in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the oil-producing country of about 1.5 million people for more than 40 years. In his campaign Bongo has touted his efforts to diversify Gabon's economy and accused the opposition of inciting violence.

The most formidable challenge among nine opponents comes from Jean Ping, a former chair of the African Union Commission who managed to get several other aspirants to rally around his candidacy.

Bongo's bid for a second seven-year term is aided by the fact that Gabon does not have a runoff system, meaning he does not have to receive more than 50% of the votes in the first round to win.

After casting his ballot, the president told reporters he was confident the process would go smoothly and said he hoped "all Gabonese can vote in calm and serenity."

Ping, meanwhile, said there had been a "total rejection" of Bongo and warned his supporters to be on guard against fraud.

The tense campaign has featured efforts to get Bongo's candidacy annulled based on claims he was born in Nigeria and therefore is ineligible to be president — claims Bongo has dismissed as unfounded.

Bongo's victory in 2009 sparked looting and clashes between protesters and security forces. The office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday issued a statement calling on candidates to avoid "any acts of incitement or the use of inflammatory statements."

More than 600 000 voters are registered to participate. Voting was scheduled to end at 18:00, though polling stations that opened late could remain open to accommodate voters waiting in line, according to an announcement by Rene Aboghe Ella, president of the electoral commission.

Provisional results are expected early next week.

Read more on:    ali bongo  |  gabon  |  central africa  |  gabon 2016 election

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.