With the Gabonese presidential election scheduled for August 26th, the deadline for submitting candidatures is fast approaching. The Gabonese Elections Center requires candidates to submit their applications for the general elections, including the presidential, legislative, and local contests, by Tuesday, July 11th, at 6 p.m. President Ali Bongo intends to stand for re-election, while the opposition is still forming.
President Ali Bongo has been traversing the country since April as part of a Republican tour. Although he has yet to formally declare his candidacy, his desire to run has been no secret. “He is expected to announce his decision in the coming days”, reveals a source close to him. In the meantime, approximately twenty individuals have already declared their intentions to run, and this number is likely to increase. On Thursday, July 6th, Jean Boniface Assélé Dabany, the uncle of the Head of State, entered the race.
Some candidates have been actively campaigning for a significant period, such as Mike Jocktane from Gabon Renouveau, who joined the race in October 2021. Several members of the Alternance 2023 platform have also declared their candidacies in recent months. Notable among them are former Vice-President Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou, former Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima, and National Union President Paulette Missambo.
Expectations are high for several heavyweight contenders, including economist and former minister Alexandre Barro-Chamberier, who has been tirelessly traversing the country for months. However, a few seasoned politicians have decided not to participate.
Given the one-round election system and the formidable challenge of running against Ali Bongo, the opposition is compelled to unite and find a consensus candidate. “Negotiations regarding the strategy are still ongoing”, reveals a source within the Alternance 2023 platform. However, finding a candidate acceptable to all factions within the platform by Tuesday poses a significant challenge. Consequently, some candidates may withdraw before the official start of the campaign on August 11th.