|Registered Voters||813 154|
|Voter Turnout||357 402|
|Ali Ben Bongo||41,70%|
|Andre Mba Obame||25,90%|
Poor voter turnout and postelection violence were the two main issues that marred Ali Ben Bongo's assertion of victory. Geographically, Bongo's support is spread throughout the country, while his counterparts, Mba Obame and Pierre Mamboudou, were mainly supported in the northern and southern parts of the country respectively.
Voter turnout was low with some 357 402 votes collected out of over 813 154 registered voters. Despite the election result being announced by interim President Rose Francine Ragombe and acknowledgement of the outcome by the French government, the opposition candidates and a regional body from the African Union, have rejected the result on the grounds of irregularities, which include a lack of transparency and the use of intimidation tactics by heavily armed security guards outside polling stations.
The rejection of the election results by Bongo's opposition candidates led to opposition supporters taking to the streets in protests and rioting soon after the results were announced.Torched cars and looted shops were common scenes around the country. Port Gentil was the hardest hit, where violent protest resulted in the death of three people, as well as opposition contender Pierre Mamboudou being wounded by security forces in the protest.
In another incident, the television station owned by Mba Obame was found ransacked and riddled with bullets. Further, foreign nationals, specifically French citizens living in Gabon, have expressed deep concern at the situation amid fears that French citizens may be targeted owing to the perceived connections between the Bongo family and the former colonial power, as the opposition has openly accused the French government of assisting in Bongos ascension to power. The French government has subsequently denied playing any part in Bongo's election campaign, but has nevertheless acknowledged and accepted the outcome of the election.
Since the open rejection of the vote, 17 opposition candidates have issued a public statement in the capital Libreville demanding a recount, as well as calling on the Gabonese people to remain vigilant and mobilised for progressive action, without elaborating on further action they may take.
Bongo's greatest immediate challenge lies in healing the political rifts caused by the recent elections. Under Bongo, Gabon was generally a peaceful haven and a nation united under one leader. The new President therefore has large shoes to fill in terms of ensuring unity and stability in the country.
In the medium - long term, Bongo faces the challenge of diversifying the State's economy which is almost solely reliant on it's dwindling oil reserves. To be successful in these tasks, Bongo will have to ensure unity within the Gabonese Democratic Party, a task that he has already started by saying that he is prepared to work with the opposition.
Consultancy Africa Intelligence, Election Reflection Gabon (2009)
Consultancy Africa Intelligence, "Gabongo": The Future of Gabon after Bongo (2009)
Polity. Gabon's Bongo declared winner of presidential poll. (September 3, 2009)
Polity. Gabon opposition leader injured, party rejects poll. (September 3, 2009)
Polity. Gabon tightens security after post-poll clashes. (September 4, 2009)
Polity. Gabon opposition demands poll recount, inquiry. (September 8, 2009)