Bongo’s fate in the balance as Gabon goes to the polls


LIBREVILLE: Gabon voted on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in a presidential election pitting incumbent President Ali Bongo against a veteran politician riding on a promise to end a 50-year-old family dynasty. The election in the oil-rich central African country followed an acrimonious campaign and persistent social unrest, but was carried out in a calm atmosphere with no reports of major incidents. Except for crowds outside polling stations, the streets of the capital, Libreville, were largely deserted on Saturday. By evening both parties were claiming victory. “We can confirm that our candidate, Ali Bongo Ondimba, will win…we are already on our way to a second mandate,” said Bongo’s spokesman, Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze, adding that he could not offer exact voting figures at this stage. But a spokesman for the main opposition candidate Jean Ping said he had more than 57 percent of the vote against less than 40 percent for Bongo, according to an incomplete early estimate by his team.



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