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Bongo party wins landslide in Gabon vote: official
by Staff Writers
Libreville (AFP) Dec 22, 2011

President Ali Bongo's party scored a landslide victory in Gabon's parliamentary elections but turnout was low given an opposition boycott, it was announced Wednesday.

Bongo's Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) secured 114 out of parliament's 120 seats, its best score since the end of the single party system in 1991, the electoral commission said.

Turnout was only 34.28 percent, it added.

Opposition parties that boycotted the legislative election had warned Tuesday they were ruling nothing out as they mulled their reaction to the governing party's reported landslide.

"The Gabonese opposition does not recognise the validity of the December 17 ballot since the parliament it will bring into office represents less than 10 percent of the population," Jules Aristide Bourdes Ogouliguende said.

The former speaker and senior opposition figure known as "Jabo" was speaking to reporters in the name of a coalition of parties that chose to boycott Saturday's election.

When asked what the opposition would do next, Jabo said: "We are ruling nothing out and when I saw nothing, I mean nothing."

But Interior Minister Jean-François Ndongou who read out the results denied accusations of fraud, saying: "The ballot boxes have chosen the representatives of the people."

African observers gave the vote a thumbs up but the opposition went into the polls in disarray. One cluster of parties decided to boycott over the absence of biometric polling equipment but another group chose to field candidates regardless.

The PDG and its allies had 98 seats in the outgoing parliament.

Saturday's vote was the first parliamentary election since Bongo's father Omar died in 2009 after 41 years in power.

Bongo, 52, campaigned on his economic achievements and Gabon's co-hosting of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with Equatorial Guinea, an event that has spurred major investment.

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