Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gabon’s president wants presidential mandate reduced to five years

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Gabons President Ali Bongo has been in power since 2009 and in 2018 even had a new constitution adopted that scrapped presidential term limit of two seven-year term.

The new constitution at the time received overwhelming votes from members of Gabon’s national assembly.

It meant President Bongo could remain in power without any limit but ahead of elections this year, he has now proposed shortening the presidential mandate from seven to five years.

Bongo’s proposal is part of efforts to reduce tension and prevent violence following more than two days of deadly unrest in the aftermath of elections in 2016 when the opposition rejected his victory and alleged fraud at the time.

“On the eve of future general elections, I have today decided to set the term of office for all elections to five years,” Bongo said on Monday.

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The move will require constitutional reform and a vote in parliament to become effective. The consultations on the upcoming elections are scheduled to last until Feb. 24.

Bongo suffered a stroke in October 2018 and had to be flown to Morocco for medical treatment.

He spent three months abroad but returned shortly after a coup attempt was thwarted in his absence.

President Bongo has not said whether he will run for a third term in the 2023 elections although an exact date has not yet been set.

64-year-old Bongo has been president since succeeding his father, Omar, who died in 2009.


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