Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping filed his challenge to the results of the August 27 presidential poll at the urging of the international community, according to his representative on Gabon’s electoral commission.
The leaders who urged Ping to file a challenge with the Gabonese courts included the U.N. secretary-general, said Paul Marie Gondjout.
“Mr. Ban Ki-moon asked Mr. Ping to go to the Constitutional Court. Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French minister of foreign affairs asked Mr. Ping to go to the Constitutional Court. Some African head of states did the same thing with Mr. Ping,” Gondjout told VOA.
“We want the international community to intervene in Gabon because the situation can get worse if nothing is done,” he added.
The challenge, filed Thursday afternoon just before the deadline to contest the election results, centers on the province that provided President Ali Bongo his margin of victory in the official results.
“We are challenging the results of Haut-Ogooue, the native province of Mr. Bongo, in which he has won the province with 95.6 percent of the voting on 99.93 level of participation of the voters, which is nonsense,” said Gondjout.
National voter turnout was 59 percent, according to the electoral commission.
Deadly violence erupted in the capital, Libreville, last week after official results showed President Bongo beating Ping by about 6,000 votes nationwide.
Judicial bias feared
Ping accused officials of fraud and declared himself the winner.
Ping has said the judges are biased in favor of the ruling party and the Bongo family, which has ruled Gabon for nearly 50 years.
President Bongo has resisted calls for a recount and shrugged off reports of irregularities from European Union election observers.
The president said he would file his own challenge to the opposition’s results.