Africa

Gabon election: Ali Bongo criticises EU over vote 'anomalies'

A police officer patrols near a barricade in Libreville in an attempt to secure neighbourhoods from looters, 2 September 2016 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gabonese authorities say three people have died and 105 have been injured in street violence

Gabon President Ali Bongo has accused international observers who highlighted anomalies in the country's contested presidential election of bias.

Mr Bongo criticised the European Union mission observing Gabon's election after questions were raised over his narrow victory.

He also accused opposition leader Jean Ping of a "massive fraud".

"If we want to address the anomalies, we must be clear, balanced and address any anomalies," he said.

"Some of the EU observers overstepped their mission," he told France's RTL radio.

On Tuesday the EU questioned the legitimacy of the election results in Gabon on 27 August.

The Constitutional Court is expected to meet on Thursday to consider a challenge by Mr Ping.

Mr Bongo said he would respect the wishes of the court if it ordered a recount.

The EU mission said there was a "clear anomaly" in the results from Mr Bongo's home province after official figures from Haut-Ogooue showed a turnout of 99.93%, with 95% of votes cast for the president.

Sarah Crozier, from the EU team, said observers noted a much lower turnout nationally than was recorded in Mr Bongo's political base and that tabulations from his province showed anomalies for those who had not voted as well as the number of votes that were void.

"With a turnout of 99.93% and 71,000 voters, you would have only 47 people not voting, and we found there were polling stations declaring results [of those who did not vote] that were totalling a figure above that 47," she told the BBC's Newsday programme.

Mr Ping, who lost the election by less than 6,000 votes, has pointed to the results in the province as evidence of electoral fraud.

He has called for a general strike and said that dozens of his supporters have been killed in violent clashes since the result was announced.

The Gabonese authorities say three people have died and 105 have been injured in street violence and mass arrests have taken place.

Other reports put the death toll at at least six.

Gabon election: Bongo v Ping

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Mr Bongo took office in 2009 after an election marred by violence
  • He succeeding his father Omar Bongo who had come to power in 1967 and was Africa's longest serving leader
  • Veteran diplomat Mr Ping had served as chair of the African Union
  • He had been a close ally of Omar Bongo and had been his foreign minister
  • He had two children with Omar Bongo's daughter, Pascaline

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