Gabon court upholds President Bongo’s election victory

The constitutional court rejected opposition leader Jean Ping’s claim that election results were rigged.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba votes during the presidential election in Libreville, Gabon, August 27, 2016.

Gabon's Constitutional Court rejected on Friday an opposition challenge to the results of an August 27 election won by incumbent President Ali Bongo, whose family has ruled the central African oil producer for nearly a half century.

The decision, read late at night in an almost empty court chamber, raised the prospect of a repeat of the violence that erupted with the announcement earlier this month of Bongo's narrow victory over Jean Ping, the opposition leader.

Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping addresses the media in Libreville on August 29, 2016

In his petition to the court, Ping alleged fraud in Haut-Ogooue province, where Bongo won 95 percent votes on a turnout of 99.9 percent.

A European Union observer mission stated it had uncovered anomalies in the province's results.

But the court refused to accept copies of vote tally sheets provided as evidence by Ping, many of which it said were illegible. Ping's legal team was absent from the courtroom as the ruling was announced.

At least six people were killed in clashes after the election result was announced.

Supporters of Gabonese opposition leader Jean Ping took to the streets of Libreville to protest the outcome of the presidential election.

Earlier, Bongo's lawyer had asked the court to reject Ping's complaint, in part because it was wrong to single out one province for a recount.

Bongo's allies submitted evidence to the court rejecting Ping's allegations and in turn accused opposition leader for orchestrating a vote fraud.

Ping said that he had no faith in the court because of its ties to the president.

Bongo became president in 2009 after the death of his father, who ruled the country for 42 years.

TRTWorld and agencies