Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo is proposing a change to the country’s electoral system, announcing plans to shorten the presidential mandate from seven years to five years. This change is being made ahead of the general elections scheduled for this year and is aimed at preventing the kind of violence and unrest that followed the last election in 2016.

The proposal will require constitutional reform and parliamentary approval, but President Bongo believes this change is necessary to create a stable political climate and to encourage a peaceful transfer of power. The 64-year-old president took office in 2009 after his father, Omar Bongo, passed away. He has not announced whether he will run for a third term in the 2023 presidential election, but his proposal to shorten the presidential term shows that he is committed to making changes that will benefit the country as a whole.

In 2016, Ali Bongo’s victory was met with opposition and allegations of fraud, leading to clashes between police and protesters that resulted in significant damage and loss of life. The death toll from the unrest is estimated to be between a few people and over 50, with hundreds more being arrested, according to Freedom House.

In 2018, President Bongo suffered a stroke and was treated in Morocco for three months. He returned shortly after a failed coup attempt, but the events of the past few years highlight the need for a stable political climate in Gabon. The consultations on the upcoming elections will continue until February 24th, and President Bongo is hoping that his proposal to shorten the presidential term will help to create a peaceful and secure environment for the election process.

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