Home Latest News Gabon votes for first time since violence-marred 2016 election

Gabon votes for first time since violence-marred 2016 election

Gabon votes for first time since violence-marred 2016 election

© Provided by way of AFP
It’s the first vote since a 2016 election marred by way of violence

Oil-rich Gabon, dominated by way of the similar political dynasty for just about part a century, voted Saturday in long-delayed legislative and municipal polls, the first since a presidential election 2 years in the past that was once marred by way of fatal violence and allegations of fraud.

A divided opposition is not going to mount a a hit problem to President Ali Bongo’s ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), polls recommend.

His key rival, Jean Ping, is boycotting the election, however maximum different opposition teams entered the competition.

Bongo himself voted in Libreville the place, like in other places within the nation, the election gave the look to be continuing frivolously underneath gray skies and light-weight rain.

‘Dice are loaded’ 

Polls suggest the election is no threat to Bongo

© Provided by way of AFP
Polls recommend the election is not any danger to Bongo

“Like everyone in Gabon, I’ve just done my civic duty, and all I hope is that everything goes well,” the president stated after casting his poll.

An early voter, 53-year outdated shopkeeper Stanislas Bidoubi instructed AFP he was once backing an opposition birthday celebration.

“I want change in my country,” he stated.

Another voter, 34-year outdated civil servant Rodrigue Taika, stated he was once backing the ruling birthday celebration.

“I’m voting for the party in power because today there are reforms that are painful, but they are for the benefit of the population,” he stated in connection with contemporary austerity measures.

Others, in the meantime, made up our minds to stick away, some giving their causes on social media.

Related slideshow: News in footage (Provided by way of Photo Services)

“I’m not going to vote because the electoral process is biased, the dice are loaded,” wrote Samy Maghoumbou, a trainer, on Whatsapp.

“We know in advance who will win, so there’s no point in pretending,” he stated.

Posters dotted Libreville asking the rustic’s 680,000 citizens to show as much as elect 143 new MPs in addition to different native officers.

‘Never ignored an election’ 

Turnout in Gabon elections is normally low, however queues outdoor Libreville stations pointed to full of life voter hobby within the capital.

“I’ve never missed an election,” stated 52-year-old Rainatou Wagne. “Even if there’s cheating in every African election, as a Gabonese citizen I prefer to vote,” she stated.

The debatable re-election of Bongo in August 2016 by way of just a couple of thousand votes led Ping to claim that victory were stolen from him.

Voter queues in Libreville point to solid turnout

© Provided by way of AFP
Voter queues in Libreville level to forged turnout

Violence broke out and dozens of – People had been killed in line with the opposition, however the govt says simplest {four} died.

Ping’s headquarters was once bombed and the opposition additionally claimed that fashionable human rights abuses had been dedicated by way of armed militias that took to the streets.

On Saturday, some opposition applicants had been pointing to alleged irregularities, announcing that balloting papers had long past missing, there were makes an attempt to shop for votes, and their representatives were denied get right of entry to.

‘No actual opposition’ 

Political divisions run deep within the equatorial African country, dominated by way of Omar Bongo from 1967 till his death in 2009, when his son Ali took over.

And Gabon’s oil-dependent economic system has been hit by way of falling crude costs.

“I am not sure that this election will ease tensions because since 2016, the country has been torn by a crisis that has divided families and changed the political scenario,” stated political professional Wilson Andre Ndombet.

The opposition, which rallied round Ping in 2016, is now fractured, easing the best way for the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) which, then again, may be going through birthday celebration in-fighting.

Ping, a veteran diplomat who once headed the African Union Commission and has held senior UN posts, was once a stalwart in Omar Bongo’s govt.

“There is no real opposition in Gabon,” stated Gabin Yalanzele from the ruling PDG forward of polling day.

A Libreville resident, who known himself as Steven, stated before the vote that the ruling birthday celebration and the opposition had been “buying consciences” with T-shirts and different sweets.

“The electoral process has always been biased,” stated political professional Ndombet, including that “officials manning voting stations were bought” by way of the ruling birthday celebration.

The govt closed the rustic’s borders on polling day and banned alcohol gross sales till the top of balloting.

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