- President Bongo leads after 99% turnout in home province
- Main opposition candidate Jean Ping to contest outcome
Gabon’s electoral authorities delayed the release of final election results amid a dispute over the tally in one province which swayed the poll’s outcome to the advantage of President Ali Bongo.
A provisional outcome has shown Bongo the winner with 49.8 percent of the vote after he garnered more than 95 percent in his home province where the turnout exceeded 99 percent, Jean Gaspard Ntoutoume, a spokesman for the campaign of the opposition’s Jean Ping, said by phone from the capital, Libreville. Ping gathered 48.2 percent of the national vote, representing a difference of 5,594 with the final tally of Bongo, he said.
The governors of each of the nine provinces broadcast the provincial numbers on state radio and TV.
“You can be sure that we are going to contest these results, which clearly do not reflect the reality,” Ntoutoume said. “Our candidate clearly is the winner, and the long wait for the proclamation only again indicates that there was something wrong and someone needed time to fix things.”
Military vehicles were stationed around the presidential palace Libreville as residents waited for the electoral commission to announce the winner. The announcement was initially scheduled for Tuesday, according to Gabon’s Interior Ministry. The electoral commission hasn’t given a reason for the delay.
Public protest will be extremely likely in the event of a narrow margin of victory, Cailin Birch, a political analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in e-mailed comments.
“The fact that the presidential vote appears to be very close risks inflaming social and political tensions once the official results are announced,” Birch said.