Gabon court affirms vote results
Opposition parties consider forming own government
LIBREVILLE, Gabon - The constitutional court declared the son of Gabon’s late dictator the victor of a disputed presidential election yesterday, extinguishing the opposition’s last chance for legal redress and increasing tension in a nation wracked by postelection violence.
The leader of one of the largest opposition parties immediately denounced the court’s declaration, which came hours after angry voters torched a police station in Gabon’s second-largest city.
Louis-Gaston Mayila, head of the Union of Gabonese People, or UPG, said opposition leaders are considering forming a parallel government. “And then we will see which government is more popular,’’ he said.
Marie Madeleine Mborantsuo, president of the constitutional court, validated the results issued by the country’s electoral commission, saying Ali Bongo won 141,952 votes in Sunday’s election, or 41.7 percent.
Bongo, 50, is the eldest child of Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 41 years until his death in a Spanish clinic in June. Although many saw the elder Bongo as the father of the nation and tacitly accepted his decades-long grip on power, many also said they wouldn’t accept a second Bongo.
Opposition leaders undertook a nearly 24-hour protest outside the election commission Thursday as they awaited results. Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, just before the results were issued.
Gabon’s opposition leaders have since gone into hiding, including the UPG’s Pierre Momboundou, who was said to have been injured during the attack. His spokesman, Frank Ndjimbi, said the constitutional court cannot be counted on to be unbiased because most of its members are appointees of the late Bongo.
Ali Bongo told France’s Le Monde newspaper that “politicians should be careful with their words and act calmly.’’ He said opposition leaders who want to contest the results could do so “through the proper channels.’’