Gabon - 2018 Election
Observers characterized the 2011 legislative elections as generally free and fair, although some opposition parties boycotted them, citing the government’s inability to provide for full transparency and prevent voter irregularities. Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) candidates won 114 of 120 seats in the National Assembly.
The average turnout in legislative elections was approximately 40 percent. In 2011 the minister of interior announced changes to the electoral code and the law governing political parties. Key changes included a reduction in the time permitted for revising the electoral list from 60 to 30 days and a decrease in the campaigning periods for legislative elections from 15 to 10 days. The reforms also give CENAP the authority to make decisions with a quorum of only four of the eight board members. Opposition leaders criticized these changes as limits on political participation, since the opposition selects only three of eight CENAP members; government officials or the PDG select the remaining five. They also stated that governing party politicians paid for votes and transported voters from other electoral districts to vote in their electoral districts.
Gabon postponed legislative elections set for 27 December 2016 until July 2017 because of a lack of money, the interior ministry said in a statement on 03 December 2016. The decision was taken after a request by the electoral commission and the vote will now take place on July 29, 2017, with parliament extended until then, it said. “The constitutional court has ... decided that the means invoked constitute a case of force majeure justifying the delay of the legislative elections,” the statement said.
The Gabonese legislative elections, which were to be held by 09 July 2017 after a first postponement, were further postponed 11 July 2017, to be held ‘latest by April 2018’, according to the country’s Constitutional Court. This fresh postponement came after failed political reconciliation talks between the government and a section of the opposition, which the court said were important before kicking off an electoral reforms process.
On 01 May 2018 Gabon’s constitutional court dissolved the national parliament and called on the government to step down, criticising its failure to organise the legislative elections. According to the court, the government should have organised the twice-delayed polls by the end of April. The government duly resigned on 02 May 2018.
A new interim government was installed in Gabon on 04 May 2018, three days after the former administration resigned over delays in holding legislative elections. Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet announced a new government after the constitutional court forced the dissolution of the previous government, with the ruling party retaining control of key ministries. Issoze-Ngondet was reappointed as prime minister on 03 May 2018 by President Ali Bongo.
With no parliament in place, the government now refers solely to the President Ali Bongo. The legislative elections were unlikely to take place before July at the earliest.
The election campaign for local and legislative elections in Gabon officially opened 27 September 2018. Candidates had 10 days to reach out to the electorate in campaigns aimed at getting them votes in the combined legislative and local elections on 06 October 2018. The elections come after several postponements and would allow Gabonese citizens to choose new deputies to represent them.
President Ali Bongo's ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) won a legislative election by a landslide in the first round, the presidency said. "We have observed what looked like a landslide in favour of the [ruling] majority," presidential spokesman Ike Ngouoni said on 07 October 2017, citing results posted publicly at voting stations. He said the PDG had won 80 of the 143 seats in the national parliament. Ngouoni said turnout was "relatively weak".
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