- The Gabonese ruling party has elected the late President Omar Bongo’s son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, as the presidential candidate for elections slated for late August this year, the Gabonese Democratic Party announced today.
Mr Bongo, 50, who is currently Gabon’s defence minister, is expected to run against tight opposition in the West African state. He is expected to succeed his father, who died on 8 June at the age of 73, after ruling the country for 40 years.
However, rights groups had argued that no member of the former government should contest the elections, saying election of Mr Bongo was a clear nepotism, saying it also compromises democracy.
They also accused the ruling party of funding election campaigns with state money which is in favour of Mr Bongo.
Meanwhile, the National Electoral Commission has proposed presidential elections be held on 30 August, which has already been communicated with the government. “The government will then formally announce the date,” reports said.
The Commission has recommended that candidates should file their nominations between 17 and 22 July, a month prior to elections.
Following the death of President Bongo, the Gabonese Senate speaker, Rose Francine Rogombe was sworn in as acting head of state in the capital Libreville, and also commissioned to prepare for presidential elections.
Africa’s longest serving President Bongo died of cardiac arrest at a Spanish hospital where he had been treated for weeks.
Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa’s sixth-biggest oil exporter and produces manganese, but it still remains one of the world’s poorest countries.
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