- The Gabonese Senate speaker, Rose Francine Rogombe has been sworn in as acting head of state in the capital Libreville, following the death of President Omar Bongo in a Spanish clinic earlier this week.
Ms Rogombe who took oath of office today, a day after her appointment was confirmed by the constitutional court, will have most of the powers of an elected president except the authority to dissolve parliament or to hold referendums, the Constitutional Court has announced.
Elections are due within a timeframe of between 30 and 45 days following the announcement of vacancy in power by the Constitutional Court. The Gabonese constitution allows the Head of Senate to assume powers as Acting President for a duration of maximum 90 days, which are to be used to organise elections.
Ms Rogombe was born in 1942 at Lambarene, 240 kilometres southeast of Libreville. She served as a junior minister for the promotion of women and human rights in governments headed by Leon Mebiame, who was prime minister for 15 years from 1975 to 1990.
She was elected Senate president for six years last February, becoming the first woman to head a parliamentary institution in Gabon.
The Gabonese government said the late Mr Bongo’s body, who had led Gabon since 1967, will arrive back in the country on Thursday where it will lie in state at the presidential palace in the capital.
He will be buried at Franceville in the Bateke region of his birth in south-east Gabon on Thursday next week.
Africa’s longest serving President Bongo died of cardiac arrest at a Spanish hospital where he had been treated for weeks.
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