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Ali Bongo remains in new government

Gabon's prime minister has announced a new government which includes the ruling party's presidential candidate Ali Bongo, who is the son of the late president Omar Bongo Ondimba and defence minister since 1999.

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AFP - Gabon's new prime minister Paul Biyoghe Mba late Wednesday announced a new government including the ruling party's presidential candidate Ali Bongo but leaving out dissidents Andre Mba Obame and Casimir Oye Mba.

Ali Bongo, son of the late president Omar Bongo Ondimba, has been defence minister since 1999.

He was chosen from among 10 would-be candidates from the ruling Democratic Party, including former minister of mines, oil and hydrocarbons Casimir Oye Mba who leaves the government.

Also absent from the new team will be two other presidential candidates, Andre Mba Obame, who was in charge of coordination, and Paul Mba Abessole, the former vice premier in charge of culture.

Most members of the previous government retained cabinet positions.

Meanwhile, the national elections commission said it had received "about 30" candidatures for the August 30 presidential election by Wednesday night when applications had to be in.

Two Gabonese opposition parties had called Wednesday for a one-week extension to the enrollment process ahead of the election, saying the current timetable was too short.

The election was prompted by the death last month of Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had been Africa's longest-serving ruler, holding power for 41 years.

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