Africa  

EU observers report ‘clear anomaly’ in Gabon vote results

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 03, 2016 shows a woman walking out of a polling station after casting her vote in Meyerton, South Africa. African elections are often marred by fraud allegations, but on the continent such practices have become flagrant due to the mobilization of civil society and the development of technology, according to experts. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN WESSELS

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 03, 2016 shows a woman walking out of a polling station after casting her vote in Meyerton, South Africa.<br />African elections are often marred by fraud allegations, but on the continent such practices have become flagrant due to the mobilization of civil society and the development of technology, according to experts. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN WESSELS

European observers in Gabon said Tuesday they were certain there had been an “anomaly” in the disputed election that handed incumbent Ali Bongo victory by a wafer-thin margin.

“An analysis of the number of non-voters as well as blank and disqualified votes reveals a clear anomaly in the final results in Haut-Ogooue” province, Bongo’s fiefdom, the observers said in a statement.

Haut-Ogooue is one of the country’s nine provinces and turnout there, according to official figures, crossed 99 percent with 95 percent voting for the president.

Even after the vote result in the other provinces had been settled, electoral commission members fiercely debated the count for Haut-Ogooue, the heartland of Bongo’s Teke ethnic group, before the incumbent was declared the winner on Wednesday.

Thousands of protesters poured onto the streets of the capital Libreville, accusing the governmment of stealing the election.

Some 800 people were arrested in the clashes that followed the news that Bongo had been re-elected.

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