LIBREVILLE, Gabon - Ali Ben Bongo, the son of Gabon’s late ruler Omar Bongo, declared victory yesterday in the central African oil nation’s presidential election, but two opponents disputed his call and said they had won.
Authorities deployed antiriot police around Libreville, the capital, and urged the country to stay calm while the count was being completed. Official results of Sunday’s vote are not expected before today.
Opposition leaders accuse Ben Bongo, the former defense minister, of rigging the election to ensure a dynastic transfer of power from his father, but election monitors and France said they were broadly satisfied with procedures so far.
“Information received today from various constituencies across Gabon and abroad make me easily the winner,’’ Bongo told a news conference at the headquarters of his ruling Gabonese Democratic Party.
“I thank all those, the youth and the women, in the nine provinces who accompanied me in this victory and who granted me their overwhelming support,’’ he added.
He gave no projections of the results and the electoral commission said separately it could take until tomorrow to announce full results.
The French Foreign Ministry welcomed what it called the good organization and high turnout of the election “despite certain technical difficulties.’’
A number of voters complained of several hours’ delay at some polling stations.