A European Union report on Gabon’s August presidential election has called into question the outcome of the vote which saw President Ali Bongo reelected.
The report released on Monday points out to anomalies which occured during the vote count, notably in Bongo’s stronghold of Haut-Ogooue.
In the immediate aftermath of the polls, observers pointed out discrepancies including the number of abstentions, blank ballots and spoilt ballots.
“Our observation highlighted significant weaknesses in the electoral process, particularly in terms of lack of transparency in crucial phases and the lack of independence of some key institutions,” said EU Observer-in-Chief, Mariya Gabriel, at a press conference.
The mission has challenged the results, which underline that they “reversed the trend observed by the mission on the basis of the results announced by the governors of the other eight provinces of the country”.
According to official results, Bongo obtained more than 95 percent of the vote on a turnout of more than 99 percent in that area.
Raising questions about the turnout, the report noted that the nationwide turnout figure, excluding Haut-Ogooue, was 54.24 percent.
Gabon’s Foreign Minister Pacôme Moubelet Boubeya welcomed the report, saying it will be used by the president as tool to reflect. Boubeya said cabinet would make time to study the recommendations.
“It is a timely report, at a time when the President of the Republic, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, recently called for a political dialogue which will be supervised by the” The Prime Minister. These are elements, I believe, which will certainly help to be examined by the political class if it so wishes. “
Presidential challenger Jean Ping says the report “undeniably demonstrates” his victory in the election.
“This report unambiguously confirms what we have always said about this presidential election and, moreover, it demonstrates incontrovertibly that it is me, Jean Ping, who is the winner of the presidential election,” he said to the media after a meeting Gabriel.
In August he asked for a ballot recount in Haut-Ogooue, but the request was overturned by the Constitutional Court.
“The Court’s handling of the dispute did not make it possible to rectify the anomalies observed during the consolidation phase of the results,” the report states.