Gabon presidential elections: Infighting hits Omar Bongo’s party

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The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG, the ruling party) is expected to nominate its presidential candidate by Wednesday, in view of the next presidential elections. Party members had until Saturday midnight to file their application. In total, about ten candidates will be running in the presidential race. This is the first time PDG has recorded so many contenders for a presidential elections in the country. After the death of Omar Bongo Ondimba, the founding member of PDG, party barons are more open about their political ambitions.

About ten potential presidential candidates have been registered within the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) for the next elections. Among them are; the current Minister of Defense, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the Prime Minister, Jean Eyeghe Ndong, Minister of Mines, Casimir Oyé Mba and the first vice-president of the National Assembly, Daniel Ona Ondo. Most of the colleagues of the deceased President Omar Bongo Ondimba, are seemingly very interested in occupying the powerful position and are not hiding their intentions.

Interviewed by Radio France International (RFI) last week, the Prime Minister of Gabon, Jean Eyeghe Ndong and his predecessor Casimir Oyé Mba, did not exclude the possibility of running in the presidential race. According to analysts, this reveals a certain level of power struggle within the ruling party. This division, according to observers, could prove benefitial to the opposition as “the PDG is more divided than ever”. The benefactors of Omar Bongo’s political kingdom are so concerned with their own ambitions that party unity has been put in second place. “Everyone wants to become the new boss of the party and as a result, the new master of the country,” political commentators of Gabon have said.

According to sources close to the PDG, a consensus will be reached in the next few days to appoint a new party candidate for the elections, which should, in all probability, be held by the end of this year. The ongoing squabbles and divisions within the ruling party should logically, if they persist, benefit opposition political parties, provided that they, on their part, do not run helter skelter… considering the fact that the heavy political machinery from the PDG is well seasoned and has the genius to win, without any real confrontation, over a fragmented opposition.

The situation within the PDG should be clarified before July 8, according to sources close to the party’s central committee, when the nominee will be presented to party members at an extraordinary congress.

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