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EU: There Was Anomaly in Gabon’s Election

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A European Union (EU) observer mission yesterday cast doubt on the validity of the recent controversial presidential election in Gabon, which saw incumbent President Ali Bongo win by a slim margin. The EU mission had focused on the votes counted in Bongo’s home province of Haut-Ogooue as the turnout there was reported above 99 percent, with the incumbent president gaining 95 percent of the votes.

According to Mariya Gabriel, the EU’s chief observer of the polls, the number of non-voters and blank or invalid ballots did not match the reported turnout rate, which she said constituted a “clear anomaly.” “The integrity of the provisional results for this province is consequently put into question,” Gabriel said on Tuesday.

Bongo hits back

On Wednesday, Bongo responded to the EU observers’ allegation by saying, “I would also have liked them to have noted some anomalies in the fiefdom of Mr. Ping.” “If we’re raising anomalies, we have to be clear, balanced and raise all the anomalies that have been noted,” he added..




A call to arms?

The 73-year-old Ping strongly rejected the results and called them “fraudulent.” He also declared himself the real winner of the presidential race and called both for a general strike and for international help to protect the population following a deadly raid by government forces on opposition headquarters in the capital Libreville after the election.

“We cannot accept that our people will be killed like animals without reacting,” Ping said on Facebook on Monday. “I propose to cease all activity and begin a general strike.” The opposition politician further urged people to “use all means of resistance to topple this tyrant [Bongo] and believe me, he is on the verge of falling.” Ping’s proposed strike did not seem to have attracted much attention in Libreville on Monday as banks and shops were open and taxis were operating normally.

France Intervention:

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement that “Arrests have taken place in the past few days. France is without news about several of its compatriots,”

Gabon’s foreign ministry has responded to the French government’s concern for 15 French-Gabonese dual citizens, who France says have been missing since post-election unrest broke out France has said that it… ‘had no news about a number of its citizens’. After the post-election protests, the Gabonese authorities are aware that citizens with dual nationality were detained by security forces.

The Ministry of Justice has made itself available to answer questions from the families [of those detained]. The Gabonese authorities would like it to be noted that citizens with dual nationality, who are based in the country, cannot hide behind another nationality and therefore are subject to Gabonese laws and regulations.”

 

 

 




Resignations:

 

Gabonese Army Chief of Staff Auguste Roger resigned on Tuesday 6th September over the influx of mercenaries fearing a possible coup. Also, the Justice Minister resigned same day from office in relation to Government refusal to recount the electoral votes. He also resigned from Ali Bongo’s party. This is coming after the resignation of the Vice Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Gabon.

 

 

African Union ‘to mediate’

The African Union has meanwhile said it would send a delegation to Gabon, likely to be led by Chadian President Idriss Deby, in a bid to mediate between the two sides over the contested election.

Deby, who himself stands accused of rigging the presidential election in his home country, has ruled over Chad since 1990. Bongo, who came to power in 2009, will now remain at the helm for a second 7-year term if the results are approved by the country’s Constitutional Court. Bongo’s father, Omar, had ruled the country for 42 years before his death in 2009.

The oil-rich African country has been the scene of deadly post-election violence over the nearly eleven days, with Gabonese authorities reporting several deaths in the unrest.

With field reports from Presstv

 

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