News

Gabon Imposes Curfew After Violence Over Election Win by Son of Late President

Gabon's main oil hub of Port Gentil is under curfew after violence sparked by the announcement that Ali Ben Bongo, son of the country's long-time leader Omar Bongo, had been elected president.

Port Gentil is under a dusk-to-dawn curfew following a day of violence during which opposition demonstrators burned the French consulate and looted nearby shops. Prisoners in the port were broken out of jail.

The French Foreign Ministry says demonstrators attacked facilities owned by the French oil firm Total and the U.S. oil services company Schlumberger. The Foreign Ministry says there are no plans at present to evacuate French residents from Port Gentil, although all have been advised to remain in their homes.

Opponents of the ruling party rioted following the declaration that former Defense Minister Ali Ben Bongo won Sunday's presidential election.

Soldiers and opposition supporters clashed in the streets of the capital, Libreville. Politicians allied with opposition candidate Pierre Mamboundou say he was slightly injured in the unrest.

The violence follows days of delays in announcing final results of the vote because the electoral commission was split over its authority to investigate returns from nearly 3,000 polling stations

During that delay, all of the three leading candidates declared themselves the winner.

But when Interior Minister Jean Francois Ndongou announced the results on live television on Thursday, victory went to Mr. Bongo.

Ndongou says Mr. Bongo won nearly 42 percent of Sunday's vote. Mamboundou and former Interior Minister Andre Mba Obame each won more than 25 percent. That makes the ruling party candidate the winner because Gabon does not hold a run-off election if no candidate wins more than half of the ballots cast.

In an interview with VOA's French to Africa Service, Mr. Bongo was asked about winning an election in which more than half the voters cast their ballots for someone else.

The president-elect said that Gabon's plurality system is the same as the one used in the United States. Mr. Bongo said he will govern with a ruling party majority in both the Assembly and the Senate, and that he hopes all political parties will work together to develop the country.

Mr. Bongo ran the best financed campaign and was considered the front-runner since his father, Omar Bongo, died in June after 42 years in power.

Both Obame and Mamboundou are rejecting the election results. Obame says some ballot boxes were stuffed for the ruling party and that opposition supporters were excluded from the vote counting process. Mamboundou also accuses the ruling party of fraud, saying the Gabonese people do not want power passed dynastically from father to son.

African Union observers say the vote was held in a general atmosphere of calm and tranquility, despite irregularities that included the presence of security officers around the polls, confusion about electoral laws, the absence of officials during vote counting, and some ballot boxes not being properly sealed.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging calm and restraint by all concerned.

Former colonial power France says the vote took place under "acceptable conditions" and that losing candidates who want to contest the result should do so in Gabon's constitutional court.

Mr. Bongo's election is not official until that court validates his win.

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs