Gabon President Ali Bongo has announced plans to seek a third term in office in next month’s presidential election. General elections are scheduled for August 26.
He intends putting in a re-election bid that would extend his family’s 56-year grip on power.
“Because nothing matters more than your success, I am announcing today that I am a candidate”, Bongo told a small crowd of cheering supporters on Sunday.
His candidacy is expected to be ratified by a special congress scheduled on Monday of his Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG).
The ruling party firmly controls parliament and is expected to win most legislative and municipal seats on August 26.
Bongo who is now 64, has been president for two seven-year terms after succeeding his father Omar, who died in 2009 after ruling since 1967.
Gabon has no constitutional term limits after President Bongo had it scrapped and he now looks set to win the upcoming presidential elections, some experts have predicted.
In February this year Bongo who could remain in power for many years to come proposed shortening the presidential mandate from seven to five years.
His proposal was 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 last February.
There is no opposition coalition in August elections despite 20 candidates announcing their intention to run against Bongo.
Ali Bongo has had past medical concerns after suffering stroke in 2018 during a trip to Saudi Arabia. That plunged the country into governance crisis.
It resulted in a failed coup forcing him to return home quickly to re-assure citizens and swear in his new government.
After spending a few days in hospital in Saudi Arabia, Bongo received most of his medical treatment in Morocco.