Ruling party takes 'lion's share' in Gabon election: official

2018-10-31 12:41
A voter places his papers in a container at a polling station in Libreville. (AFP)

A voter places his papers in a container at a polling station in Libreville. (AFP)

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The ruling party in Gabon has won a large parliamentary majority in an election that ended at the weekend, taking 98 of the 143 seats in the National Assembly, according to official results published on Tuesday.

"PDG: the lion's share," the pro-government daily L'Union proclaimed after the release of second-round results confirmed the massive victory of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), which was the sole party before multiparty politics was introduced in 1991.

The two-round election held on October 6 and 27 was the first major vote in the oil-exporting equatorial African country since a presidential poll in 2016, which was marred by bloodshed after incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba was declared the winner, defeating his main rival Jean Ping.

Parties allied with the majority won a handful of seats, several small political movements took one seat apiece and eight seats went to candidates listed as independent.

A movement named The Democrats led by former parliament speaker Guy Nzouba-Ndama has become the main opposition party with 11 members of parliament, while the Heritage and Modernity Rally won four seats and the National Union took two.

None of the main opposition leaders managed to get elected or re-elected, however.

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Ping, a longtime career diplomat who stood as the candidate of a united opposition against Bongo in 2016, boycotted the parliamentary vote on the grounds that he is really "the elected president".

Most PDG heavyweights won seats in the national assembly with impressive scores, including Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet with 89.57% and former foreign and interior minister Pacome Moubelet-Boubeya on 91.78%.

The large wins were shared by most serving government ministers and politicians close to Bongo, whose dynasty has ruled Gabon for almost half a century.

The president's eldest daughter, Malika Bongo Ondimba, officially took no fewer than 99.19 percent of votes in Bongoville, a stronghold of the family clan and the birthplace of her late grandfather, Omar Bongo, who died in 2009.

Malika Bongo is a member of the political bureau of the PDG, otherwise known for reviving a "Miss Gabon" contest and pageant.

The opposition has repeatedly alleged vote-buying and fraud at the polls, accusations that have been partially backed up in statements to AFP by witnesses.

In the last parliamentary elections in 2011, the PDG took more than 100 seats out of a total of 120. The size of the national assembly grew to 143 members early this year after a revision of constituency sizes and boundaries.

Read more on:    gabon  |  west africa

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