GABON’S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CLAIM VICTORY


Three different candidates say they gained the most votes in Sunday’s election to choose a successor to Gabon’s long-time leader Omar Bongo.

Mr Bongo’s son, Ali Ben Bongo, veteran opposition leader Pierre Mamboundou and former minister Andre Mba Obame have all claimed victory.

The vote was generally peaceful but tense, with long queues of voters. No official results have been published.

Omar Bongo died in June after 41 years in power in the oil-rich country.

His son had been seen as the pre-election favourite, partly because he is the candidate of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).

PDG secretary-general Faustin Boukoubi said “the results are giving us victory”.

Without giving further details, he said the results were “very close” in the capital Libreville but said the PDG had won in most rural areas and other towns, according to Radio France Internationale.

Mr Mamboundou said he was sure of victory and a “new era” had dawned in the country.

Mr Obame said he had won in four of the country’s nine provinces, which represents 61% of total votes.

“Therefore I can tell you that according to my tally I am the candidate who received most of the votes and who will be announced the winner,” he said.

The run-up to the election was marked by confusion with at least of the original 23 candidates pulling out in favour of Mr Obame, in a bid to unify the anti-Bongo vote.

However, other candidates denied reports that they had withdrawn.

One candidate, Cassimir Oye Mba, pulled out on polling day.

He said he did not want to vindicate a “calamitous electoral process which doesn’t look like being clean and credible”.

Several opposition figures have claimed that the PDG would use fraud to ensure Mr Bongo’s victory.

Interim President Rose Francine Rogombe has called for calm.

“Democracy is about accepting success and defeat,” she said.

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