Conflicts & War

Gabon’s opposition seeks power-sharing talks with military coup leaders

Libreville, Sep 1 (EFE).- Gabon’s primary opposition coalition has sought power-sharing talks with coup leaders who took control of the former French colony earlier this week.

In a press statement to local media, the opposition group Alternancia 2023 said the country needed “unity and cohesion, not division.”

The opposition claimed its leader, Albert Ondo Ossa, had overwhelmingly defeated ousted President Ali Bongo in the Aug.26 election.

The military seized power in Libreville on Wednesday, alleging widespread fraud in the elections, which Gabon won with over 67 percent of the vote, while Ossa received nearly 33 percent.

Before President Bongo could assume his third term, a group of military officers from the elite presidential guard took control, invalidated the election results, and placed him under house arrest.

However, the opposition coalition considers annulling the vote “unacceptable.”

“We cannot ask the Gabonese people, who elected Albert Ondo Ossa by an overwhelming majority as president of the republic to concede defeat. That is unacceptable and the people of Gabon will not accept it,”

The opposition proposed a way forward based on “reason, wisdom, democracy, and the rule of law,” which they believe will help Gabon rebuild itself and prevent a crisis worse than the current one.

Ossa had previously labeled the election results as “premeditated fraud” orchestrated by President Bongo’s Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).

The coalition emphasized the importance of the coup leaders engaging in dialogue with their leader to prevent Gabon from facing international isolation and global financial sanctions.

The opposition commended the military for safeguarding the people’s choice, asserting that the decisive action “saved our nation and its citizens from a potentially severe electoral crisis, which could have had significant economic, social, and, most importantly, humanitarian consequences.”

The military’s takeover of the oil-rich but economically challenged nation has drawn global condemnation.

But the army continues power consolidation and plans to inaugurate General Brice Oligui Nguema as president on Monday.

Ali Bongo assumed power in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled the country since 1967.

Earlier in July, the military seized power in Niger, West Africa. Gabon’s neighboring countries, Mali, Guinea-Conakry, and Burkina Faso, are already under military dictatorship. EFE


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