News

    Polls Close in Gabon

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Voters in Gabon are awaiting the results of an election to choose a new president to succeed long-time ruler Omar Bongo.   Mr. Bongo died in June after 42 years in power.

    Electoral observers say that Sunday's vote appeared to draw a big turn-out.  While there are no early official estimates of voter participation, witnesses say most of the nearly 3,000 polling stations were more crowded than during the last presidential election in 2005.

    Most voters appeared to heed the instructions of Interior Minister Francois Ndoungou to return home on Sunday and wait for the government to announce the winner.

    Ndoungou says it has been a transparent vote because all candidates and parties were free to station electoral observers at all of the polling stations.

    Former Defense Minister Ali Ben Bongo led a crowded field of candidates.  The late president's son had the best-financed campaign, the support of the security services and the political infrastructure of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party.  He promised to improve education, nearly double the minimum wage and build more than 5,000 new homes a year.

    Several opposition challengers dropped out of the race and had their ballot papers withdrawn to support the candidacy of former Interior Minister Andre Mba Obame.

    Civil society groups urged government opponents to unite behind a single candidate as the best chance to bring change to Gabon.  But despite the small swing to Obame, there were still more than a dozen candidates running on their own.

    Even a small percent of the vote could be enough to earn a candidate a ministerial post in the next government.

    Long-time challenger Pierre Mamboundou remains the chief opposition to the ruling party.  The Union of the Gabonese People candidate finished second to Omar Bongo in 1998 and 2005, and says Gabon can not accept power passing "dynastically" from father to son.

    Interim President Rose Francine Rogombe said the vote is the start of the transition to a new government.

    Ms. Rogombe urged voters to remain calm and vigilant.  Only one candidate will win, and she said people should not be dragged into demonstrations against the results by any of the losing candidates.

    According to the electoral commission, more than 800,000 people registered to vote in a county with fewer than 1.5 million people - 40 percent of whom are below the age of 15. Observers estimate the true number of eligible voters at not much much more than 700,000.

    Local and international journalists are prohibited from speculating about results or voting trends and may report only returns announced by the Interior Ministry on state-run media.

    Land and sea borders remain closed until Thursday evening. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.