After the day of voting in Gabon during the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday August 26, the Gabonese authorities decided to suspend the broadcasting of RFI and France 24, media of the France Médias Monde group, RFI reported.
The deadline for the suspension was not specified. In a press release, the France Médias Monde group “regrets and is surprised by this provisional suspension, without foundation which deprives the Gabonese of two of their main sources of reliable and independent information”.
Gabon’s government instituted a curfew and blocked the internet on August 26 after polling stations closed. “The nation cannot be weakened or endangered, for whatever reason. We warn that no compromise will be found if by chance public order and the safety of the population were to be endangered,” said Gabon’s Interior Minister, Lambert Noël Matha:
Fourteen candidates are in the running for this presidential election, including Ali Bongo Ondimba, president for 14 years, and who is aiming for a third term. His main opponent is 69-year-old economics graduate Albert Ondo Ossa, supported by the country’s six main opposition parties, which have come together in the Alternative 2023 coalition.
The Gabonese constitution does not provide for a limit on the number of presidential terms and the ballot takes place in a single round. The winner is the candidate who obtains the majority of the votes cast. Some 847,000 Gabonese are called to ballot in these presidential, legislative and local elections. Last spring, parliament approved an amendment to the Constitution that reduces the presidential term from seven to five years. Gabon is a presidential republic, the head of state is also the head of government.
The legislative elections are coupled with the presidential election. The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) of President Bongo has set itself the goal of maintaining an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly.