Gabon electoral commission on Wednesday put incumbent president Ali Bongo Ondimba as the winner of the presidential election with 49.85 percent of the vote compared with rival opposition leader Jean Ping who obtained 48.16 percent while the other 10 candidates shared remaining 2 percent.
Bongo’s win is another extension of one of Africa’s longest political dynasties to a half-century of rule.
The opposition led by Jean Ping rejects electoral commission results and demands a recount in Haut-Ogooué provinces, a Bongo stronghold which had a 99.93% turnout.
A half-Chinese diplomat who was previously in the Bongo family’s trusted circle, Ping narrowly lost with 48.16%, after a fraught election that observers warned are likely to result in violence.
The national election commission (Cenap) was due to announce the result on Tuesday at 5pm local time but delayed repeatedly. Many Gabonese suggested that five days to count 600,000 votes was excessive.
Meanwhile, angry opposition members and others have stormed the streets of Libreville following the announcement of the results which extends the Ondimba rule.
Residents of Libreville ventured out in the early morning of Wednesday to buy groceries but later stayed at home amid fears of violent protests. The army has been deployed to the capital’s streets, and opposition members reported that their houses were surrounded by police.
The European Union in a statement on Wednesday called for Gabon to publish “detailed results” for every polling station and urged all actors to help keep the peace.
S&D MEP Jo Leinen, the head of the European Parliament team that observed the elections said that the results of the presidential elections in Gabon lack credibility.
The lack of transparency in the overall counting of the votes has created major concerns about whether the final results announced by Gabon’s national election commission (CENAP) will be accepted.
EU, which had made an urgent call for the electoral commission to publish the results from each polling station said without trust in the transparency of the electoral process, division among the Gabonese people will continue to intensify.