Gabon elections: President Bongo runs for a third term

Aug 28, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

Gabonese voters will decide on Saturday whether to grant President Ali Bongo Ondimba a third term or to Albert Ondo Ossa, his main opponent, who has belatedly backed him.

Fourteen candidates are running for president, and just under 850,000 registered voters out of 2.3 million must vote in parliamentary and municipal elections in a single round.

By midday, scores of voters waited outside voting locations in downtown Libreville, whose streets were unexpectedly empty for a Saturday due to Bongo camp colours.

According to Reporter sans Frontières (RSF), foreign journalists have been denied accreditation or admission to the country, and African and European observers are not there.

Mr. Ondo Ossa threatens to “oust” the president and his all-powerful Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) via the ballot box and end the “Bongo dynasty” that the opposition accuses of bad administration and “corruption” after 55 years in power.

When his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had reigned for 41 years, died in 2009, Ali Bongo became president for 14 years.

Mr. Ondo Ossa accused the opposition of “malice” on Facebook by mid-morning, stating that the vote papers of five opposition candidates who had withdrawn in his favour were still in certain voting places or his own were AWOL.

The Centre Gabonais des Elections (CGE), which conducts the elections, declined to comment and directed AFP to the authorities in charge of the opposition-indicted polling locations.

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