Polls closed Saturday night despite the late start of the 2016 Gabon presidential election in major parts of the country.
Vote counting is ongoing as at Sunday morning and the results are expected to be announced by the Autonomous and Permanent National Electoral Commission (CENAP) within 72 hours (Tuesday).
Meanwhile, unverified election results have flooded social media creating tension and uncertainty. The Gabonese Ministry of Interior held a press conference late Saturday night calling on people to refrain from posting results to the public and leave that solely for CENAP.
This Sunday starts with rains of blessing in Libreville which is like announcing a new era in Gabon.
“It is not the work of an individual, a political party, the government or the opposition to announce results of the election. The mandate only rests with the CENAP so allow them to do their work,” the ministry announced on their Twitter account.
Main opposition candidate, 73-year-old former chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, has hinted of a possible victory in a tweet on Sunday morning.
“This Sunday starts with rains of blessing in Libreville which is like announcing a new era in Gabon,” he Tweeted in French.
Ce dimanche commence par une pluie de bienfaisance à Libreville comme pour annoncer une nouvelle ère au #Gabon.— Jean Ping (@pingjean) August 28, 2016
The camps of the two major candidates have been trading accusations since Saturday with Alain-Claude Bilie By Nze, spokesman for Ali Bongo, accusing opposition candidate Jean Ping of disrespecting the country’s institutions by preparing to publish false results.
The campaign director of Jean Ping, Jean Gaspard Ntoutoume Ayi, also accused the incumbent president Ali Bongo of using the Constitutional Court to perpetrate fraud during the “special” voting of the security services.
628,124 registered to vote in the relatively calm election in the country which has an estimated population of 1.8 million.
There are 11 candidates running for president after three presidential hopefuls withdrew to support the main opposition leader Jean Ping.
The incumbent president Ali Ondimba Bongo is running for a second term after taking over from his father in 2009 who ruled the country for 42 years before his demise.
There will be no second round voting as the country runs the simple majority popular vote system. If elected president, one of the 11 candidates will serve a 7-year renewable term.