Gabon ruling party wins first round of parliamentary vote

Published on 13.10.2018 at 15h54 by AFP

Gabon’s ruling party won just over half of the parliamentary seats in the first round of legislative elections in a vote marred by low turnout, the elections committee said.

Headed by President Ali Bongo, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) won 74 of the 143 seats in long-delayed parliamentary elections.

But turnout was low, with just over 58 percent of voters casting their ballots across the nation, an election committee statement said.

And in Estuaire, the most populous of Gabon’s nine provinces which is home to more than half the population, turnout stood at just 28.50 percent.

Campaigning for the second round began on Saturday with the vote to be held in 61 constituencies on October 27.

The figures were slightly lower than an initial estimate by Bongo’s spokesman last week, in which he said the party had won 80 seats, describing it as “a landslide” victory.

The October 6 vote, which also included municipal polls, was the first election since a presidential race two years ago which was marred by deadly violence and fraud allegations.

Gabon has been ruled by the same political dynasty for nearly half a century.

By contrast, last week’s election went off peacefully although a local town hall was set alight several hours after the vote.

African Union observers described the running of the election as “satisfactory” and without irregularities, but three civil society organisations complained that there had been attempts to buy votes.

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