President Ali Bongo has been declared the winner in Gabon’s presidential elections, a few votes ahead of the opposition candidate, Jean Ping.

The announcement comes after several days of heightened tensions following elections which have been criticised for a lack of transparency, taking place in a difficult political context.

The European Parliament was invited to observe the elections as part of the EU’s election monitoring mission.

S&D MEP Jo Leinen, the head of the European Parliament delegation, said:

“The results of the presidential elections in Gabon lack credibility. In most of the polling stations monitored by our mission, the outgoing president, Ali Bongo, only received a minority of the votes.

“The lack of transparency in the overall counting of the votes has created major concerns about whether the final results announced by Gabon’s national election commission (CENAP) will be accepted. We therefore urgently ask the commission to publish the results from each polling station.

“Without trust in the transparency of the electoral process, divisions among the Gabonese people will continue to intensify.”

S&D MEP Cécile Kyenge, vice-president of the EU-ACP parliamentary assembly, added:

“It is damaging that the integrity of the votes of the Gabonese people is not guaranteed, especially given the enthusiasm of citizens in these elections.

“A real political dialogue is needed – which should also include women, who were conspicuously absent from this electoral process – to regain the confidence of the Gabonese people and this cannot begin in such circumstances.”

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