|Published : 23 Sep 2016, 14:54:25|
Gabon awaits court ruling on presidential vote
Gabon's constitutional court is to decide as early as Friday who will be the country's next president, ending weeks of uncertainty after a disputed election sparked a political crisis and violent protests.
Incumbent President Ali Bongo, the son of late ruler Omar Bongo, was declared the winner of the August 27 election by a margin of fewer than 6,000 votes.
But rival Jean Ping, a career diplomat and former chairman of the African Union Commission, filed a legal challenge and demanded a recount, saying that the vote was fraudulent.
The court met on Thursday and has retired to consider its verdict. It has the choice of either upholding the original result or overturning it.
"The case is under deliberation. In principle, the decision could be handed down on September 23," the president of the court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo, said at the end of a nearly three-hour hearing on Thursday.
Ping's staff have accused the court and Mborantsuo of being guilty of a "miscarriage of justice", citing an interview she gave.
"I have to say that it is rare that the choice of reversal [of the vote results] is used," she told the Jeune Afrique weekly on September 15 in a statement that infuriated Ping supporters; according to a media report.