Gabon’s top court expects to make a ruling today on the legitimacy of Ali Ben Bongo’s presidential election victory after a recount of the votes, the court chief said yesterday.
Results showed Bongo, the ruling party’s candidate and son of the oil-producing central African country’s former leader, had won the August election, but opposition candidates denounced the contest as fraudulent. Violent protests broke out briefly.
His main rivals, former interior minister Andre Mba Obame and veteran opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou, who both polled about 25 % of the vote to Bongo’s 41.7 %, went to the constitutional court to appeal against the result earlier this month.
“We will count until 2300 (0000 GMT) or midnight and sit down again tomorrow, it depends on the number and difficulty of counting all the votes,” court president Marie Madeleine Mborantsuo said.
The court, which many say is controlled by those loyal to Bongo, has endorsed his victory once, and most observers consider it highly unlikely to reverse that position.
President-elect Bongo has been touring central Africa and meeting heads of state in the region, but has not yet been sworn in pending the outcome of the legal challenge.
Former colonial power France and other poll observers have said election procedures were broadly acceptable and there appears to be little international appetite for a re-run.
French energy firm Total, one of the biggest investors in the country, was targeted by some protestors after the result was announced, but has said its operations were not disrupted and that it remained committed to investing in Gabon.
Pic: President Ali Ben Bongo of Gabon