Gabon: Can Ndama Beat Bongo in Presidential Polls?

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Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo MunozPresident Ali Bongo

Gabon’s former parliament speaker Guy Nzouba Ndama has recently said he would run against the incumbent Ali Bongo for the presidency of the central African oil producer.

The announcement is the latest blow for Bongo, who has been grappling with the formation of a breakaway faction of his Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) and the resignation of about a dozen parliamentarians, including Ndama.

Bongo’s announcement that he would seek re-election before the party confirmed his candidacy at its convention rankled some within PDG and dissidents have complained of dysfunction within the party and said Bongo has mismanaged the country.

Speaking at a rally attended by 2,000 people in the capital Libreville, Ndama said he would run as an independent in the election in August.

Despite the turmoil, Bongo, who came to power in 2009 after the death of his father, long-time ruler Omar Bongo is expected to win a second seven-year term under a single-round electoral system that critics say favours the incumbent.

Ndama, who headed the National Assembly for nearly two decades and who campaigned for Bongo in 2009, cited personal attacks on him by the government in his resignation letter last week.

Former African Union commission Chief Jean Ping has also announced his intention to run for president.

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