In a surprising announcement, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba revealed on Sunday his decision to run for a third term in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for August 26. As the incumbent president, Bongo is currently the favourite candidate, as the opposition parties have failed to form a unified coalition, with multiple personalities already declaring their intention to challenge the current head of state. This blog post will provide an overview of the announcement and its implications for Gabon’s political landscape.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s Candidacy:
During a rally at the Nkok Special Economic Zone, President Bongo officially declared his candidacy in a speech broadcast live on his Facebook page. The 64-year-old head of state assumed office in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, who had governed Gabon for over four decades. Ali Bongo narrowly won the presidential elections in 2016, securing his second term in office.
The failure of the opposition parties to form a united front has worked in favour of President Bongo’s reelection bid. With approximately 15 candidates announcing their intentions to run against him, the opposition remains fragmented. This lack of cohesion among opposition forces has presented a significant advantage for the incumbent president.
The PDG’s Support:
President Bongo’s candidacy is expected to be ratified by his party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), during a special congress scheduled for Monday. The PDG, which holds a dominant position in parliament, has actively encouraged Bongo to pursue a third term for more than a year. Therefore, the formal investiture by the PDG is likely to be a mere formality.
Promises and Priorities:
In his announcement, President Ali Bongo Ondimba expressed his commitment to continue working towards the success of Gabon. He emphasised the importance of addressing issues such as job creation, reducing the cost of living, and improving the quality of life for Gabonese citizens and their families. Bongo’s campaign will focus on replicating the country’s past achievements and tackling the pressing concerns of the Gabonese population.
The presidential election on August 26 will coincide with the elections for the National Assembly and regional and local councils. These simultaneous elections will determine the future political landscape of Gabon. With its significant oil revenue and a relatively small population of 2.3 million, Gabon holds a prominent position among Africa’s wealthiest nations in terms of per capita GDP.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s decision to seek a third term in office has set the stage for the upcoming presidential elections in Gabon. As the opposition struggles to unite behind a single candidate, Bongo remains the frontrunner. The Gabonese Democratic Party’s support and the president’s promises to address crucial issues aim to secure his reelection. As the campaign unfolds, Gabonese citizens eagerly await the outcome of these elections, which will shape the future trajectory of their country.