/ 30 November 2005

Long-ruling Gabon president re-elected

Gabon’s President Omar Bongo, who has been in power since 1967, was re-elected for seven more years after winning 79,2% of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, the country’s interior minister said late on Tuesday.

Bongo (69) crushed at the polls his two main opponents, the ”radical” Pierre Mamboundou (59), of the Gabonese People’s Union, who received 13,6% of the vote, and former top government minister Zacharie Myboto (67), who garnered 6,6%, said Interior Minister Christian Clotaire Ivala, citing official figures from the National Election Commission.

Voter turnout was at 63,3% of the 570 000 Gabonese who were eligible to vote in the presidential contest.

The opposition contested the results even before they were announced, charging there were incidents of voter fraud in Sunday’s ballot.

However, international observers, including the International Organisation of Francophone Countries and the Economic Community of Central African States, said in a statement that the presidential election was ”free and transparent” and ”largely met international standards” for a democratic vote. — Sapa-AFP