Gabon’s President Ali Bongo eyes a third term in power.

Gabonese have gone to the polls to choose a new leader. President Ali Bongo who has already completed two terms in office is eyeing a third term in office.

The president who came to power when his father Omar died in 2009 has faced a lot of criticism from the international community. He will be contesting against 13 people.

His political rival Albert Ondo Ossa has added his voice and criticized the president’s unconstitutional attempt at a third term in office. He said “Gabon is not the property of the Bongos,”

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As in previous general elections, there are serious concerns about the process.

Both of Mr Bongo’s prior wins were disputed as fraudulent by opponents, and this time around controversial changes have been made to the ballot papers just weeks before election day.

For the first time, voters are being asked to mark a single ballot with their choice of president and MP.

Critics fear this will disadvantage independent candidates – including Mr. Ondo Ossa, who heads the opposition Alternance 2023 alliance but lacks a party of his own.

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Foreign media have been banned from setting foot in the country to cover Saturday’s vote, says the campaign group Reporters Without Borders.

Both the US and the European Union have stressed the need for free and fair elections, and say they are watching the process closely.

As well as voting for their choice of president and MPs, the people of Gabon are also choosing mayors and local councilors.

Gabon has a total population of 2.3 million people and enjoys oil wealth and rich swathes of rainforest.

However, the global economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has led to declining exports of raw materials.

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