Opposition candidates in Gabon’s Aug. 30 presidential election called today for the poll to be delayed by three months so that logistical preparations could be completed.
The oil-producing nation on West Africa’s coast called elections after long-serving President Omar Bongo died in June, and many analysts expect his son, Defence Minister Ali Ben Bongo, to succeed him as president, Reuters reports.
“We are asking for the elections to be delayed,” Zacharie Myboto, candidate for the Gabonese Union for Democracy and Development, one of the main opposition parties, told a news conference.
The 14 candidates at the news conference will try to persuade the constitutional court, which sets the electoral timetable, that more time is needed to compile voter lists and prepare polling booths.
Ali Ben Bongo, picked as the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party’s candidate last month, has kept his position as defence minister in the run-up to the contest for the leadership of one of the few sub-Saharan African countries to have issued a Eurobond.
Opposition figures have claimed the election will do no more than rubber-stamp him as successor to his father, who became one of the continent’s richest men during his four decades in power.
“We are faced with a monarchy that wants to impose itself in our country,” said Paul Mba Abessole, another opposition candidate, of the likelihood Bongo will succeed his father.
“We have to fight until the monarchists are thrown out,” he said.
Pic: Defence Minister -Ali Ben Bongo of Gabon