Gabon’s re-elected President Ali Bongo has blamed the opposition for the violence that erupted shortly after the election results were announced.
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Bongo said he respected democracy and rejected calls to step down and opposition accusations that the elections were rigged in his favour.
“Democracy is hard. Many work hard at it for hundreds of years and are still working on it. Democracy is demanding. Democracy does not sit well with attitudes of old, democracy does not sit well with self-proclaimed successes by small groups intent on destruction, democracy does not sit well with the siege of a parliament and of national television. Democracy is hard. But democracy is worth dedicating one’s life to and I have decided to dedicate mine to it’‘.
‘‘The election returned a verdict. I know who won and who lost. Who won? One million and eight hundred thousand Gabonese with whom we shall progress together. Who has lost? A small group whose only project is to take power in order to use Gabon and not to serve Gabon…This project (democracy) is close to my heart and this is what has led me to scrupulously respect the electoral code all the way and to not intervene at any time nor to seek to influence those who were in charge of achieving this electoral process which I intended to be open and transparent.”
3 people have died and some 1000 arrested after a second day of rioting.
The results of the election which gave Bongo 49.8 percent to Ping’s 48.23 percent, a gap of less than 6,000 votes remain “provisional” until they are approved by the constitutional court.
The opposition has called for a recount, something the ruling party has rejected.