Gabon opposition candidate claims victory in presidential election


Presidential candidate Jean Ping casts his ballot at the Martine Oulabou school in Libreville during the Gabon’s presidential election on August 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / STEVE JORDAN

Gabon’s main opposition candidate Jean Ping said Sunday he had won a presidential election, beating the incumbent Omar Bongo.

Official results of Saturday’s vote are due out on Tuesday.

“I have been elected. I am waiting for the outgoing president to call to congratulate me,” Ping told journalists and his supporters in the capital Libreville.

The central African country’s interior minister has repeatedly stated that only results released by the electoral commission and confirmed by his ministry are valid.

Both of the two frontrunners had already predicted their own victory and accused the other of cheating.

Shortly after polling ended on Saturday, the president’s spokesman said, “Bongo will win… we are already on our way to a second mandate.”

In his comments Sunday, Ping, 73 added, “as I speak, the trends show we have won.”

Hundreds of his supporters began chanting “Jean Ping president!”

Ping said alleged attempts by Bongo’s camp to commit fraud had been foiled and that “we will finally see off the regime.”

Bongo, 57, has been in power since a disputed election held in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled the oil-rich Central African country for 41 years.

Earlier, Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet said official results would be released around 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday and that it was “illegal to release results ahead of the official announcement by the competent authorities.”