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Gabon President Bongo Names New Prime Minister

FILE - Gabon's then-Foreign Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet addresses the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 24, 2016. Gabon President Ali Bongo promoted Ngondet to the post of Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Gabon President Ali Bongo promoted foreign minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet to the post of Prime Minister on Wednesday, a day after Bongo was sworn in following a razor-thin election victory whose integrity was questioned by international observers.

A statement read on state television said Bongo asked Ngondet to form an open government, in an apparent signal that members of the opposition could be invited to join.

Bongo's victory by less than 6,000 votes has drawn unwelcome scrutiny of the president, whose family has ruled the oil-producing state in Central Africa for 49 years. Just a handful of African leaders attended his inauguration.

France called for a recount of the Aug. 27 vote and the European Union said it found anomalies in Bongo's stronghold province of Haut-Ogooue, where he won 95 percent of the vote on a 99.9 percent turnout.

Opposition leader Jean Ping said the election was rigged.