Thursday, September 1, 2016 2:47 pm
France has called on the Gabonese government to release details of local vote tallies after the opposition said President Ali Bongo’s election victory was rigged.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Foreign Minister, said on Thursday in Paris that the election results must be clear and transparent, adding that they should be published bureau by bureau.
According to the results announced region by region by Interior Minister Pacome Boubeya, Bongo won 49.80 per cent of votes cast.
He said that Bongo’s main rival and opposition candidate Jean Ping won 48.23 per cent of the votes.
Violence broke out in Gabon late on Wednesday after the announcement of re-election of President Bongo, with security forces allegedly attacking the headquarters of the opposition.
Ping said on Thursday in Libreville that two people were killed and several injured in the attack.
He said his party’s headquarters had been bombarded by helicopters before troops from the presidential guard stormed the building.
Ping said there had been report of hoodlums breaking into the area surrounding the parliament building in Libreville and started a fire, while the home of Deputy Prime Minister Paul Biyoghe-Mba was also set on fire.
The violence came after Bongo won re-election by a narrow margin in the central African nation, extending his family’s 49-year reign.
Presidential elections are held in a single round in Gabon, with the candidate with the most votes winning outright.
Ping accused the government of fraud. “This scenario has been repeating itself for the past 50 years,”
“The opposition always wins the elections, but never takes power,” he said.
Meanwhile, the electoral commission said that almost 60 per cent of 630,000 eligible voters cast their ballot in the nation of roughly 1.7 million people.
To ensure peace and stability after such a tight election result, the European Union demanded the electoral commission make public “the detailed results” of each polling station.
The U.S. State Department released a statement saying it was “deeply concerned regarding unfolding events in Gabon.”
It called on the government to release results from each polling station in order to “give the people of Gabon, as well as the international community, confidence the announced vote tallies are accurate.”
The U.S. also urged “all security forces to act with both restraint and respect for the human rights of all Gabonese citizens.”
The election victory secures Bongo, whose Gabonese Democratic Party has a firm grip on power in the oil-rich nation, a second seven-year term.
The 57-year-old was elected for a first term in disputed 2009 polls following the death of his father Omar Ondimba, who had ruled Gabon since 1967.
Under Omar Bongo, the former French colony tapped into its new-found oil wealth to become the world’s fifth largest oil producer. (dpa/NAN)