Bongo's Son Wins Gabon Presidential Election
03 September 2009
Gabon's Interior Ministry says the son of long-time leader Omar Bongo
has won Sunday's presidential election. Final results were delayed
because the electoral commission was divided over the outcome.
|Ali Bongo greets supporters in Libreville after being declared winner of bitter presidential election in Gabon, 03 Sep 2009|
Interior Minister Jean-Francois Ndongou says former Defense Minister Ali Ben Bongo is Gabon's president-elect.
an announcement on state television, Ndongou says Bongo was elected
with nearly 42 percent of Sunday's vote. That makes him the winner as
Gabon does not have a second round of voting if no candidate wins more
than half the ballots.
Bongo ran the best financed campaign and
had the electoral infrastructure of the ruling Gabonese Democratic
Party. He has been considered the front-runner since his father, Omar
Bongo, died in June after 42 years in power.
himself the winner before the official results were announced. So too
did former interior minister Andre Mba Obame and long-time opposition
leader Pierre Mamboundou.
Speaking to reporters before the interior ministry announcement, Bongo said his opponents were "agitating for nothing."
said he had the advantage of seeing results from each of the
departments in all of Gabon's provinces, while his opponents, he said
were basing their victory claims only on results from areas where they
did well. For the ruling party, Bongo says, there is no doubt we won.
|Supporter of Ali Bongo Ondimba holds poster of their leader during electoral meeting in Libreville, 27 Aug 2009|
says some ballot boxes were stuffed for the ruling party and opposition
supporters were excluded from the vote count. Mamboundou has also
accused the ruling party of cheating.
African Union observers
say the vote was held in a general atmosphere of calm and tranquility
despite irregularities that included the absence of candidate
representatives at some polling stations, the presence of security
officers around the polls, confusion about electoral laws, and the
absence of officials during vote counting.
Final results were
delayed when the 40-member electoral commission split over its
authority to investigate returns submitted by nearly 3,000 polling
The commission of electoral officials and candidate
representatives met Wednesday to validate those results and was
expected to announce a winner. But that proclamation was delayed when
the commission adjourned late Wednesday without examining polling
Thousands of Mamboundou supporters waited
outside the electoral commission to hear the final results Wednesday.
Security forces used tear gas to disperse them early Thursday when that
announcement was delayed.