Gabonese President Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema.

In the four months since taking over in a coup, the junta leading Gabon appears to have consolidated power, relying on a multipronged approach intended to secure domestic popularity and the international legitimacy needed to distinguish from the military regimes that have seized power in other parts of Africa in recent years.

In Gabon (in Africa), President Bongo and his regime may lose power in upcoming elections.

Ahead of Gabon’s general elections later this year, President Ali Bongo has engaged in a series of carrot-and-stick maneuvers designed to smooth the way for him to maintain power. But in many ways, Gabon’s electoral democracy is a thin veneer for a kinship-based political order at the center of which sits the Bongo family.

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