Elections for Gabon’s National Assembly were supposed to be held today but were postponed until April 2018 to allow for discussion on electoral reforms between the government and opposition.
This is the second time that this round of parliamentary elections has been delayed in the central African country. Following the conclusion of this assembly’s five-year term, legislative elections were to be held on December 27, 2016. Due to insufficient funds, they were rescheduled for today.
The 2016 postponement came on the heels of a hotly and violently contested presidential election in which incumbent President Ali Bongo of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) beat opposition challenger Jean Ping by a margin of just over 1%. Voting irregularities were reported by the opposition in at least one of the country’s voting districts.
Given the surging influence of opposition parties—as demonstrated by last year’s presidential election— expect Bongo, whose family has ruled Gabon since 1967, to use the delay to try to consolidate the PDG’s power.
Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.