Nineteen persons have filed their candidacy to contest in the August 27 presidential elections to be held in Gabon.
The 19 nominations filed by the Tuesday,July 12 deadline must be validated by the Election Commission (Cenap) no later than 30 days before the election date, a source close to government told AFP.
It means that tentatively, the incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba who is seeking re-election despite claims by the opposition that he is not Gabonese, will face 18 other candidates on the ballot paper.
There was a lot of duplicates on the 2009 list, which was only computerized, it is why we all started from scratch with biometrics.
Two of the main opposition parties, the “National Union” (UN) and the “Rally Heritage and Modernity” party, who accuse Ali Bongo’s of being ineligible, said they filed an appeal on Wednesday with the Cenap to challenge the president’s candidacy.
They claim that Ali Bongo is a Nigerian child adopted by former President Omar Bongo in the late 1960s and further accuse him of falsifying his civil status. According to them, he cannot be a president under the Constitution, which requires him to be a Gabonese.
Electoral roll figures fall
The electoral list published last week identified 628,124 voters, down from the 2009 presidential elections, which had 813,164 voters. Ali Bongo won the polls and succeeded his late ‘father’, who had been in power for 41 years.
According to a source at the Interior Ministry, this difference is explained by the introduction of biometric electoral list in 2013: “There was a lot of duplicates on the 2009 list, which was only computerized, it is why we started from scratch with biometrics.”
Some of the leading contenders Bongo is likely to face include several former chiefs loyal to his fathers’ regime, but are now in opposition. Among others are former President of the Commission of the African Union, Jean Ping; former President of the National Assembly, Guy Nzouba Ndama and the former governor of the Bank of Central African States, Casimir Oye Mba.