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Vol 37 No 20

Published 4th October 1996


Gabon

Have petrol, will travel

Local elections are due this month after President Bongo's three-year delay

The elections due on 20 October are more politically significant than municipal polls usually manage to be. This is because they are seen as completing the process of transition to democracy. It is also because electors have been waiting to vote in them since December 1993. President Omar Bongo has postponed them five times, saying more time was needed for preparation. They could be postponed again: though the opposition is in full electoral swing, there is a visible lack of government enthusiasm. Yet preparations have crawled forwards over the past three years: a cross-party National Electoral Commission has at last been formed – though its first act in September was to postpone the polls till October.

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