February 22, 2024

Gabon President Ali Bongo says will run for third term

Gabon President Ali Bongo says will run for third term

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba said on Sunday that he would seek a third term as the oil-rich African nation’s head of state.

The Bongo family has ruled the country for 55 years already and is branded a “dynastic power” by the opposition after Bongo, 64, took over from his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba in 2009.

“I officially announce today that I am a candidate,” he told a crowd of supporters in a speech broadcast live on his Facebook page.

Presidential elections will be held on August 26.

His powerful Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) holds strong majorities in both houses of parliament.

The president was narrowly re-elected in 2016, with just 5,500 more votes than rival Jean Ping who claimed the election had been fixed.

Announcement of the results sparked violence in the capital Libreville that killed four civilians and a policeman, according to the government, while the opposition says 30 people were shot dead by the security forces.

Bongo suffered a stroke in 2018 and spent months on the sidelines recovering, leaving the opposition to question his fitness to run the nation.

He still has a stiff arm and leg and has mobility difficulties, but in recent months has held “republican meetings” around the country and made official visits abroad, including for summits.

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