Lawyers For Gabon's Bongo, Ping To Face Off In Court

Gabon's opposition leader Jean Ping challenged the August presidential vote as fraudulent and demanded a recount. By Steve Jordan (AFP/File). Libreville (AFP) - Gabon's post-election crisis was drawing to a head Thursday with lawyers for President Ali Bongo and his rival Jean Ping to appear at the constitutional court's first hearing over the highly-disputed poll.  The hearing was to take place at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT), a day before the expiry of a 15-day deadline for the Constitutional Court to resolve electoral disputes. Bongo was declared winner of the August 27 election by a wafer-thin margin of less than 6,000 votes, an announcement which sparked several days of violent protests. The opposition challenged the vote as fraudulent and on September 8, Ping, an internationally-respected diplomat who himself claimed victory, filed a legal challenge, demanding a recount. A court decision is due by September 23. "Yesterday evening (Wednesday) we were called for a hearing," Ping's lawyer Jean Remy Bantsantsa told AFP.
Gabon's opposition leader Jean Ping challenged the August presidential vote as fraudulent and demanded a recount. By Steve Jordan (AFP/File)




Libreville (AFP) - Gabon's post-election crisis was drawing to a head Thursday with lawyers for President Ali Bongo and his rival Jean Ping to appear at the constitutional court's first hearing over the highly-disputed poll.

The hearing was to take place at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT), a day before the expiry of a 15-day deadline for the Constitutional Court to resolve electoral disputes.
Bongo was declared winner of the August 27 election by a wafer-thin margin of less than 6,000 votes, an announcement which sparked several days of violent protests.




The opposition challenged the vote as fraudulent and on September 8, Ping, an internationally-respected diplomat who himself claimed victory, filed a legal challenge, demanding a recount. A court decision is due by September 23.
"Yesterday evening (Wednesday) we were called for a hearing," Ping's lawyer Jean Remy Bantsantsa told AFP.

Gabon's election controversy
"The observers will present their report. Then the lawyers from both sides will speak for around 10 minutes," he explained. Bongo's lawyer Francis Nkea was not immediately available for comment.
It was not immediately clear whether the court would give a definitive ruling on Thursday or would make a separate announcement on Friday.
In his legal challenge, Ping asked for a recount in the ruling family's stronghold of Haut-Ogooue province, where Bongo won more than 95 percent of votes on a reported turnout of more than 99 percent.
Following the vote, EU election observers said there had been a "clear anomaly" in the final results from Haut-Ogooue.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the two sides said they had agreed to a recount although they disagreed over the scope of it.
Ping, a veteran diplomat, has made clear he believes Bongo has the court in his pocket, referring to it as "the Tower of Pisa that always leans the same way".
The nation in central Africa has been ruled by the Bongo family since 1967.







Source: AFP
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