Gabon court upholds Bongo’s election victory, rejects opposition
The Constitutional Court of Gabon has upheld the narrow victory of incumbent President Ali Bongo, dismissing the appeal of his main opponent defeated in the election last month.
The ruling was made early Saturday, rejecting the claims of the Central African country’s opposition leader Jean Ping, who had declared himself the rightful president and demanded a vote recount over alleged electoral fraud days after Bongo’s win in the August election.
In its final decision, the high court acknowledged that Bongo had garnered 50.66 percent of the vote against 47.24 percent for Ping.
The 57-year-old victor; however, appealed for “political dialogue” with the opposition groups to stem any potential unrest triggering after the court announcement.
“I call on all political leaders, including the defeated candidates in the August 27 election, for a political dialogue,” Bongo said during a televised speech.
Gabon’s capital of Libreville along with other major cities have been the scene of widespread riots for nearly a month since the disputed election outcome, with Gabonese authorities reporting several deaths in the unrest.
Following the chaos, the European Union and Western countries, including the US and France, urged calm and called on authorities in the former French colony to show more transparency about the election results.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also called on the nation to be calm.
Bongo, who came to power in 2009, will now remain at the helm for a second 7-year term, succeeding his father Omar Bongo who had come to power in 1967 and passed away in 2009.