Post-coup ruler in Gabon names leaders of parliament

Post-coup ruler in Gabon names leaders of parliament

Gabon’s new ruler General Brice Oligui Nguema on Monday appointed former opposition leaders and stalwarts of the ousted regime to both houses of parliament.

The general, proclaimed president for a transition period, led a bloodless coup d’etat against President Ali Bongo Ondimba on August 30.

Moments before, Bongo, whose family ruled the West African state for 55 years, had been declared winner of a presidential election which the army and opposition declared fraudulent.

Oligui has promised to hand the country back to civilian rule with elections after a transitional period, without setting a date.

He has set up a broad transitional government under new prime minister Raymond Ndong Sima, a Paris-educated economist who served as PM for Bongo from 2012 to 2014 before running against him in the 2016 and 2023 presidential campaigns.

Gabon’s interim Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima reacts during an interview in Libreville on September 10, 2023. – A two-year transition before the free elections promised by Gabon’s new military rulers is a “reasonable objective” the new prime minister they appointed told AFP in an interview on September 10, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The new Senate will be led by Paulette Missambo, one of Bongo’s leading rivals at the election and head of the National Union party, said a decree from Oligui, read out on state television.

Jean-Francois Ndongou, who held numerous ministerial posts under the Bongo family’s decades in power, will be speaker of the transitional National Assembly.

Four vice-presidents — army officers, politicians who opposed and supported Bongo as well as civil society figures — were named for each house.

Oligui is also expected to appoint 70 members of the assembly and 50 of the senate.

The new government that Ndong Sima announced on Saturday includes military figures and ex-ministers who served under ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba, but none of the main opposition figures.

Oligui has also promised a new constitution, to be adopted by referendum, and a new electoral code.

Also on Monday the curfew introduced n Libreville and its suburbs by Bongo’s government, and subsequently maintained by the military, was reduced by four hours and will now run from 10 pm to 6 am.

However the 6 pm to 6 am curfew hours will be maintained in the rest of the country, the military announced.

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