Ali Ben Bongo, son of deceased President Omar Bongo, will stand as the ruling party’s candidate in Gabon’s forthcoming presidential election, the party said yesterday.
Defence Minister Ali Ben Bongo has been widely tipped to take over since his father, Africa’s longest-serving leader, died aged 73 last month, Reuters reports.
“The political committee has decided by large consensus to list Ali Ben Bongo as the Gabonese Democratic Party’s (PDG) candidate in the presidential election,” PDG deputy general secretary Angel Ondo said on national television.
Elections must be held by September 6 at the latest, the oil-producing nation’s constitutional court said last week, approving an extension to the 45-day period for which the interim government is constitutionally allowed to rule.
That government took power on June 10, but the court said the logistical difficulties inherent in organising an election in only 45 days justified a delay in holding the vote.
Opposition figures have expressed concern the elections will do no more than rubber-stamp the succession of Ali Ben Bongo to the position his father occupied for more than four decades, during which he amassed one of the biggest fortunes on the continent.
The last few months of his life were overshadowed by attempts by a French magistrate to investigate the source of those riches.
French energy firm Total is one of the biggest investors in Gabon, which produces about 273 000 barrels of oil per day.