Libreville, Gabon | AFP |
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo said Sunday that he is “calmly” waiting for the result of the country’s presidential election to be published, after his rival Jean Ping claimed victory following Saturday’s vote.
“We respect the law… so we are waiting calmly for Cenap (the national election commission) to announce the results of the election,” Bongo told a crowd of supporters in his first public remarks since the poll.
Official results are not due out until Tuesday and some voters voiced fears of a repeat of the violence seen after a disputed 2009 election.
“I have been elected. I am waiting for the outgoing president to call to congratulate me,” Ping told journalists and his supporters in the capital Libreville.
The central African country’s interior minister has repeatedly stated that only results released by the electoral commission and confirmed by his ministry are valid.
Both of the two frontrunners had already predicted their own victory and accused the other of cheating.
Shortly after polling ended on Saturday, the president’s spokesman said, “Bongo will win… we are already on our way to a second mandate.”
In his comments Sunday, Ping, 73 added, “as I speak, the trends show we have won.”
Hundreds of his supporters began chanting “Jean Ping president!”
Ping said alleged attempts by Bongo’s camp to commit fraud had been foiled and that “we will finally see off the regime.”
Bongo, 57, has been in power since a disputed election held in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled the oil-rich Central African country for 41 years.
Earlier, Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet said official results would be released around 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday and that it was “illegal to release results ahead of the official announcement by the competent authorities.”