French prime minister suggests recount of Gabon election results
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday a recount should be held of the votes in Gabon’s disputed presidential election.
France, the former colonial power, has already joined the European Union and the United States in calling for the results from Ali Bongo’s wafer-thin 6,000-vote victory to be published.
“There needs to be a clear electoral process,” Valls told French radio station RTL.
“There are arguments and some doubts. European observers in the country have already made criticisms on the basis of objectives. It would be wise to do a recount.”
In the midst of violence that has flared since the result was announced, Valls said his first priority was ensuring the safety of the 15,000 French nationals who live in the central African country.
“Our priority now is the safety of the 15,000 French people who live and work in Gabon,” Valls said.
The prime minister also called on the Gabonese authorities to establish the whereabouts of around 15 French nationals who have been missing since the violence began.
“It’s true that we have no news of around 15 French citizens, who are in many cases French-Gabonese bi-nationals.
“We ask the Gabonese authorities that everything be done to find them.
“We hope to have information on them as soon as possible.”
Bong’s rival Jean Ping has insisted the vote was rigged and on Friday claimed victory for himself.