As Jean Ping and other opposition leaders contest the results of Gabon’s election which saw the re-election of Ali Bongo Ondimba, France has called for an end to violence and urged respect for the Gabonese vote.
The call comes after Ali Bongo was declared winner in a tight race against rival, Jean Ping. Ali Bongo grabbed 49.8 percent of the vote while his main challenger Ping followed closely with 48.2 percent.
“France is concerned by the situation in Gabon, We wish that the vote of the Gabonese people should be respected, and believe that if necessary the result should be contested through a judicial process and not through violence. And to send a strong signal of transparency, we are also asking that detailed election results for each polling station should be published,” French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault said.
Reacting to calls by France for the vote to be published per polling station, Ali Bongo’s government told France not to intervene in Gabon’s internal affairs.
Earlier in January, France and Gabon entered a diplomatic row after a comment made by French PM Manuel Valls during a TV programme- was interpreted by Gabonese officials as doubt over Bongo’s legitimacy after his election win in 2009. The misunderstanding was quickly resolved.
Gabon with a population of about 2 million still has mutual interests with former colonial master-France. Apart from benefiting from French aid, the Central African country hosts a French military base and has a large number of French expatriates with major investments across the country.