Gabon’s interior ministry has declared incumbent President Ali Bongo as the winner of the country’s closely-fought presidential race, reports Aljazeera.
Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya said on Wednesday Bongo had won 49.80 percent percent of the vote, to 48.23 percent of rival candidate Jean Ping.
Election commission members belonging to the opposition denounced the vote, which one commissioner for Ping’s party, Paul Marie Gondjout, said was “stolen”.
Catherine Soi, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the capital Libreville, said Ping’s camp has rejected the result.
“They say they will not accept this result at all,” Soi said.
“Protests have started. Protests are expected to continue,” she said, adding that what appeared to be clouds of tear gas and smoke could be seen over parts of the city.
“Jean Ping has been telling his supporters not to accept a vote that is not favourable to him…. He is telling his people to defend their vote, to defend their choice.”
Ali Bongo has been President of Gabon since October 2009. His father Omar Bongo was President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently, he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009. He was the candidate of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) in the August 2009 presidential election, which followed his father’s death.