14 December 2001

Gabon: Bongo's Party Sweeps to Victory

Libreville, Gabon — Four days after legislative elections in Gabon, official initial results were finally delivered,late Thursday.

As expected, the Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG) of President El Hadj Omar Bongo, has scored a sweeping victory. 52 of the 58 deputities elected in the first round are from the PDG. In the capital, Libreville, three winning candidates, André Dieudonné Berre, Jacques Adiahenot, et Jean François Ntoutoume, who is also the prime minister, are from the ruling party.

In a fourth constituency, however, the PDG's Jean Eyeghe Ndong won only 32.54% of the votes, against 38,52% for the leader of the opposition RNB-RPG and mayor of Libreville, Father Mba Abessole, now considered likely to win in the second round, on 23rd December.

As soon as the spokesperson at the Interior Ministry announced the initial results on national television, members of the PDG took to the streets chanting, dansing and blowing their car horns. They celebrated their party's victory all night in the city's bars and restaurants.

All eyes are now directed at the Constitutional Court which, according to the country's constitution, must endorse the results before they become final.

Some opposition parties, including the Union du Peuple Congolais (UPG) of Pierre Mamboundou, have called on their followers to boycott the second round. There have also been calls to annul the results of the first round, on account of reported irregularities and the low turnout.

In this political climate, an outbreak of Ebola in northeastern Gabon has killed twelve people after they ate meat from a monkey whose remains were found in the bush. According to Radio France International, picked up in Libreville, the US authorities have asked all their citizens to leave the region.

Gabon, an oil-rich Central African nation, with a population of 1,300,000 and a geographic area of 26,700 square kilometres, is considered one of the most stable in the region. It is led by President Omar Bongo who has been in power since 1967.

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