A realistic two-year timeline for elections, according to Gabon’s military-appointed PM

A Realistic Two-year Timeline For Elections, According To Gabon's Military-appointed Pm
  • The prime minister appointed by Gabon’s military rulers suggests that holding elections within two years is a reasonable goal.
  • Raymond Ndong Sima was designated as the interim PM through a decree issued by General Brice Oligui Nguema.
  • In his recent announcement, Ndong Sima introduced an interim government, consisting of individuals who won’t be eligible for the next presidential elections.

The newly appointed prime minister of Gabon’s transitional government expressed in an interview with AFP on Sunday that a two-year period before the scheduled free elections is a “reasonable objective.”

“It is wise to establish a reasonable objective by stating our desire to conclude the process within 24 months in order to proceed with elections,” stated Raymond Ndong Sima, the prime minister leading the transition. He further added that this duration could be slightly adjusted.

Following the August coup d’état against President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Ndong Sima was appointed last week as the head of the transitional government by General Brice Oligui Nguema.

The coup occurred on August 30, shortly after Bongo was declared the victor of a presidential election that both the military and the opposition deemed fraudulent.

Nguema, who was declared the president for the transitional period, immediately pledged to restore civilian rule through elections after a transitional phase, the exact length of which was not initially specified.

Notably, Ndong Sima, aged 68, is an economist educated in Paris, who previously served as prime minister under Bongo from 2012 to 2014. He later became a critic and competed against him in the presidential campaigns of 2016 and 2023.

His appointment, publicly announced on state TV, was formalized through a decree issued by Oligui on Thursday.

New constitution, electoral code

As per the provisions of the transitional charter, no member of the temporary government will be eligible to run in the upcoming presidential election.

However, there seem to be no restrictions on Oligui’s participation in the race.

The general has also pledged the introduction of a new constitution, to be ratified through a referendum, and the development of a new electoral code.

“The military’s announced principle,” stated Ndong Sima, “is that there will no longer be an opposition or a majority, hence we are incorporating members from all political factions.

The aspect of the duration of the transition and who is eligible to run for election will be discussed by those responsible for drafting the new texts for the country,” added the prime minister.

“However, it would be inappropriate for the military to participate, so they can maintain impartiality and act as objective arbiters during the elections,” he explained.

The new government announced by Ndong Sima on Saturday includes both military figures and former ministers who served under the ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba, but does not involve any prominent opposition figures.