Cards Stacked Against Gabon’s Opposition in Election Challenge to Bongo

Cards Stacked Against Gabon’s Opposition in Election Challenge to Bongo
Burnt-out cars outside a government building following an election protest in Libreville, Gabon, Sept. 1, 2016 (AP photo by Joel Bouopda).

Most observers, myself included, expected Gabon’s incumbent president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to win his country’s election late last month. Few, however—again including me—anticipated the degree of violence and apparent fraud that would accompany the process. Bongo is now reconsolidating power in the aftermath of an intensely contested election. If his victory stands, it will demonstrate that Gabon’s opposition has few tools with which to challenge the results, and that the international community has little will to sanction Bongo and his inner circle. When elections were held on Aug. 27, Bongo barely won. Gabon’s electoral framework stipulated that the winner needed […]

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