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Gabon Ruling Party Wins Election Largely Boycotted by Opposition


Members of the election commission of the polling station of Atout near Medouneu, Gabon, wait for electors during the legislative elections on December 17, 2011.

Members of the election commission of the polling station of Atout near Medouneu, Gabon, wait for electors during the legislative elections on December 17, 2011.

Gabonese President Ali Bongo's ruling party has won a landslide victory in a parliamentary election largely boycotted by the opposition.

Official results from Saturday's vote, released late Wednesday, show Bongo's Gabonese Democratic Party and its allies secured 114 of 120 seats in parliament, an increase from their 98 seats in the outgoing assembly. Opposition candidates took the remaining six seats.

Authorities say the election turnout was 34 percent. Gabonese Interior Minister Jean Francois Ndongou says the result was credible, an assessment shared by African Union observers.

Most opposition parties boycotted the election to protest the government's refusal to wait for the launch of a biometric voter registration system to prevent fraud. Representatives of parties involved in the boycott called the results of the vote illegitimate.

President Bongo's party campaigned on his efforts to diversify the oil-exporting nation's economy and attract foreign investment ahead of Gabon's co-hosting of the 2012 African Cup of Nations football tournament. Neighboring Equatorial Guinea is the other host.

The parliamentary vote was the first in Gabon since Bongo won a 2009 presidential election, succeeding his father Omar Bongo who died that year after ruling for four decades.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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