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Gabon court declares Bongo victor in disputed presidential election

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Gabon upheld on Monday the presidential election victory of Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba [BBC Profile]. Bongo, former minister of defence and foreign affairs and of son of long-time Gabonese president Omar Bongo [BBC Profile], received over 40 percent of the vote, but was accused of fraud [Gaboneco report, in French] by his challengers. The court rejected [AP report] the claims filed by the opposition, and ordered that the inauguration can take place in the coming days. Bongo represents a minority party in the nation. This is believed to have played a part in the violence that erupted [NYT report] following the election. Former colonial power, France, had previously acknowledged Bongo as the electoral victor.

Accusations of election fraud and related violence have been widespread in Africa. Earlier this month the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] announced [JURIST report] it will prosecute responsible parties for the December 2007 Kenyan post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. In 2008, opposition parties in Zimbabwe alleged [JURIST report] that the government rigged the results of the re-election of President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. In 2007, the Nigerian presidential election received sharp criticism [JURIST report] from outside observers and opposition leaders, despite what appeared to be a landslide victory for Umaru Yar'Adua [BBC profile].

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