Gabon’s President Ali Bongo accuses EU poll observers of bias

Gabon's incumbent President Ali Bongo

Gabon’s incumbent President Ali Bongo

Gabon’s embattled President Ali Bongo on Wednesday accused the EU observers that criticised his country’s election of overlooking irregularities in his rival Jean Ping’s camp.

On Tuesday, the observer team reported a “clear anomaly” in voting in Haut-Ogooue province, Bongo’s heartland.

“I would also have liked them to have noted some anomalies in the fiefdom of Mr Ping,” Bongo told France’s RTL radio.

“If we’re raising anomalies, we have to be clear, balanced and raise all the anomalies that have been noted.”

Bongo, who has been in power since 2009, claimed victory in the August 27 poll by a wafer-thin margin of some 6,000 votes.

The results of the vote in Haut-Ogooue have been hotly contested by the opposition. Official results show that turnout exceeded 99 percent, and that 95 percent voted for Bongo.

In their analysis, the EU election monitors said: “The number of non-voters as well as blank and disqualified votes reveals a clear anomaly in the final results in Haut-Ogooue.”

Bongo ducked calls for a recount, saying that only the Constitutional Court could order a repeat count.

“I cannot violate the (electoral) law,” he insisted.

Several people have been killed in violence triggered by the vote in the oil-rich African nation.