The European Union criticized the appointment of Ali Bongo as Gabon’s president who was sworn in Tuesday (27 September) after the country’s top court controversially approved the validity of the presidential election. The EU along with many African countries questions the validity of the election that resulted in riots in Gabon’s capital Libreville and left 50 people killed, according to the opposition. The ruling party said the deal toll was three. Moreover, the vote had a suspiciously high turnaround and voting irregularities. The European Union’s electoral observer mission commented that the EU “regretted” that Gabon’s top court “had been unable to satisfactorily rectify anomalies observed during the count”.
On Tuesday during the ceremony, President Bongo said he would defend the constitution and rule of law – “I pledge to devote all my efforts for the good of the Gabonese people and to ensure their well-being… and respect and defend the constitution and the rule of law.” The Tuesday ceremony, which took place in the seafront presidential palace, was accompanied by cannons being fired and was attended by few African leaders, such as the presidents of Mali, Togo, Niger and Sao Tome and the prime ministers of Chad, Senegal, Morocco and the Central African Republic.
Ali Bongo is the son of former President Omar Bongo, who was the leader of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991, represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999, and subsequently was also Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009. The second mandate of Ali Bongo was criticized by the African Union, the United Nations as well as the EU, which had hoped for a transparent vote.