Bongo is sworn in following disputed presidential vote

Ali Bongo is being sworn in as President of Gabon after the country's constitutional court confirmed the results of the disputed August 30 presidential election. The nation's interim leader has pleaded for calm amid opposition calls for resistance.


AFP - The son of Gabon's longtime ruler will be sworn in as president on Friday following disputed elections, with the nation's interim leader pleading for calm after the opposition called for resistance.

Ali Bongo, whose father Omar Bongo Ondimba ruled the country for 41 years before his death in June, will take the oath at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) at the presidential palace, the presidency said.

"My dear compatriots, it is not desirable that we plunge our country into chaos," interim President Rose Francine Rogombe said in an address broadcast on state media Thursday evening.

"Like all major elections, the one that our country has experienced may have left wounds and disagreement. We must accept that this election is now behind us."

The Constitutional Court earlier this week confirmed Bongo won the election prompted by the death of his father, certifying he received 41.79 percent of the ballot in the August 30 poll.

It had examined 11 requests from nine candidates and one citizen for the election to be annulled because they alleged the vote was rigged.

When the results of the August 30 election were announced in early September, riots shook the country's economic capital Port-Gentil.

The government said five people were killed, while the opposition spoke of up to 15 deaths.

The opposition said Wednesday it "exhorts the Gabonese people to fight injustice and other moves aimed at muzzling democracy and undermining its sovereignty".  

But its leaders refused to spell out in concrete terms what their appeal exactly meant.

A military parade will follow Bongo's swearing in, and the new president was scheduled to hold a press conference around noon (1100 GMT).


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