Gabon will hold an election for president on Aug. 27, election authorities said on Tuesday, in which President Ali Bongo, whose Gabonese Democratic Party has a firm grip on power, was expected to secure a second seven-year term in power.
Bongo has sought to diversify the oil producer’s economy and boost public investment, but some of his programmes have been hampered by the slump in commodities prices and he has faced opposition from many quarters.
Some critics say Bongo is ineligible to run, arguing he was adopted and born in a different country. After he was declared winner in 2009, opposition supporters clashed with security forces. His supporters say the allegations about his nationality are spurious.
Guy Nzouba Ndama, a former parliament speaker, and Casimir Oye Mba, who has served as prime minister, have both announced they will run for the presidency, as well as Jean Ping, a one-time head of the commission of the African Union.
Bongo is expected to win although some analysts have cationed that frustration over wealth inequalities and political rivalries could spill over into unrest.
Bongo’s father ruled the country from 1967 until his death in 2009 when his son took over.
Candidates are required to submit dossiers by July 12 and the campaign will start on Aug. 13, electoral commission secretary Judith Koumba Pemba Mombo said.