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Gabon

Yearbook 2018

Gabon. According to Countryaah.com, Parliamentary elections were held in October, almost two years delayed. As a result of the delay, the Constitutional Court dissolved the government and the lower house in April. A transitional government was formed. President Ali Ben Bongo's ruling party PDG (Gabon's Democratic Party) won big, securing 98 of 143 seats after both rounds; small parties affiliated with PDG got 20 seats and partyless won 8 seats. Opposition parties squeeze 17 seats, including 11 for the newly formed Democrats, led by former Speaker Guy Nzouba-Ndama. In contrast, opposition politician Jean Ping, a former top diplomat whom Bongo defeated in 2016, did not run for office in a contentious presidential election.

2018 Gabon

The president's health created concern and overshadowed PDG's election victory. Bongo, 59, became ill on a visit to Saudi Arabia on October 24 and was hospitalized there. For several weeks, there was silence about what he was afflicted with, which contributed to the spread of rumors. Parallels were drawn to 2009 when his father, longtime President Omar Ali Bongo, died. The confirmation that this death came only after several weeks of silence.

Bongo flew to Morocco in late November for continued care and the first pictures of him were shown. On December 9, Gabon's vice president stated that Bongo suffered a stroke. On New Year's Eve, a speech that Bongo recorded in Morocco was broadcast on TV and social media. He talked about a tough time and would eventually return to Gabon.

At the beginning of the year, amendments were made to the Constitution which strengthened the presidential power, even though there were concessions to the opposition. It was noted that a decisive round of elections would be held in presidential elections if no candidate got over half the votes in the first round, a return to past practice.

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