Gabon’s ruling party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (GDP), on Saturday endorsed President Ali Bongo as its candidate for the national polls which are scheduled to take place in the second half of the year.
Bongo had taken the lead by announcing on February 29 his candidacy for a second term, but it had yet to be approved by the party’s leadership.
“I acknowledge with humility, seriousness and confidence that you have shown me by this mandate to represent the Gabonese Democratic Party in the presidential election,” said the head of state before thousands of activists, standing before his slogan written in capital letters, “Let’s change together.”
Elected in 2009 after the death of his father Omar Bongo Ondimba – who had been in power since 1967 – the Central African leader pledged “to always work for the entire Gabonese population who trust us for our common project”.
“We must break the whole circle of futility,” added Mr. Bongo, calling for “work” to build a society based on “merit”.
The inauguration of Bongo comes after the resignation of several senior members of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party who have denounced malfunctions in the government.
Some of them have created a new political party to challenge Bongo but will face a daunting task to unseat GDP which has been in power since the country’s independence.