The elections to determine the Gabon’s next president must be held by 6 September at the latest, the West African nations constitutional court declared.
A poll originally due to be held within 45 days of the appointment of an interim president on 10 June, was turned down by all main political parties in the oil-exporting state who argued that organizing an election in such a small timeframe would have presented great difficulties in organizing ballots for the country’s 1.5 million citizens eligible to vote.
Amidst these doubts, the government turned to the court affirming the need for additional preparations and demanding more time to prepare for polls. In its verdict, the court took into account the untimely death of the former president and the time invested in state funerary arrangements. The court ruled that elections should be held no later than the 6th of september 2009.
“These unforeseeable events constitute a case of force majeure…the delay will leave enough time to collate voter lists and make other preparations.”
says Madeleine Mborantsuo, president of the court
Bongo’s son, defense Minister Ali Ben Bongo, is widely tipped to follow his father into power, but the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party has yet to select a candidate.
President Bongo was Africa’s longest-serving leader when he died after more than four decades in power, during which he became one of the continent’s richest