Gabon presidential vote in September

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The election to choose the successor to Gabon’s former President Omar Bongo who died last month must be held by September 6 at the latest, the West African country’s constitutional court said on yesterday.
A poll was originally due to be held within 45 days of the appointment of an interim president on June 10, but all main political parties in the oil-exporting state argued that organising an election in such a short space of time would have presented great logistical difficulties, Reuters reports.
Bongo’s death aged 73, and the necessity of arranging his state funeral, could not have been predicted, the court said.
“These unforeseeable events constitute a case of force majeure,” the court’s president Madeleine Mborantsuo said in a statement, adding the delay would leave enough time to collate voter lists and make other preparations.
Bongo’s son, Defence Minister Ali Ben Bongo, is widely tipped to follow his father into power, but the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party has yet to select a candidate.
French energy firm Total is one of the biggest investors in Gabon. The country’s oil output is estimated at 273 000 barrels per day.
President Bongo was Africa’s longest-serving leader when he died after more than four decades in power, during which he became one of the continent’s richest men.
The last few months of his life were overshadowed by attempts by a French magistrate to investigate the source of his wealth.