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
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.