Gabon Gets New House Speaker and Government

© Présidence de la République gabonaise
Le président Ali Bongo lors de ses vœux télévisés aux Gabonais le 31 décembre 2018.

This follows the appointment of Julien Nkoghe Bekalé as new PM on January 12, 2019.

Gabon's new Prime Minister, Julien Nkoghe Bekalé, late on January 12, 2019 night announced a cabinet reshuffle without any major changes, Jeune Afrique magazine reported. The video announcement was recorded in Morocco where Bekalé met with President Ali Bongo Ondimba who is recovering since taking ill in Saudi Arabia last October.

Earlier the same evening, Jean-Yves Teale, Secretary General at the Presidency, in another video message recorded in Morocco, announced appointments of presidential aides, also without significant changes. Meanwhile at the National Assembly, Brice Laccruche Alihanga, remains Director of Cabinet, a position he has been holding since 2017. He is a former official of BGFI Bank.

The National Assembly has been non-existent since April 2018 when the Constitutional Court declared it vacant, blaming for failing to hold parliamentary elections on time. From that time, legislative duties were conferred on the Senate. Follo wing last October's parliamentary and municipal elections that saw the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party, PDG retaining its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly with 98 of the 143 seats, President Ali Bongo on January 12, 2019 appointed a new Prime Minister, Julien Nkoghe Bekalé, 57.

He replaces Emmanuel Issozé Ngondet who becomes Ombudsman. Earlier on January 11, 2019, Faustin Boukoubi, 65, was elected Speaker of the National Assembly, replacing Richard Auguste Onouviet whose tenure ended on April 30, 2018. President Ali Bongo's fifth prime minister since he took over power in 2009, Julien Nkoghe Bekalé is said to be close to the Head of State.

He has been Minister variously for Petroleum, Transport and Equipment. After being fired in 2011, he returned as cabinet minister in 2016. Faustin Boukoubi and Julien Nkoghe Bekalé are both senior officials of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, President Ali Bongo is expected to suspend his medical leave in Morocco to return home and swear in a soon-tobe-appointed new cabinet as required by the Constitution.

Julien Nkoghe Bekale has on several occasions been cabinet minister under Ali Bongo and even during the rule of his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba.

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