Gabonese parliamentary election, 1964

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Parliamentary elections were held in Gabon on 12 April 1964. The election was originally to be held the week of an abortive coup d'état, though Gabonese president Leon M'ba of the Gabonese Democratic Bloc (BDG) dissolved the National Assembly and rescheduled them for 12 April. Despite widespread lack of free speech and M'ba's intimidation of voters, the opposition still garnered 46 percent of the vote.

Electoral process[edit]

The election was originally to be held the week of an abortive coup d'état, though M'ba dissolved the National Assembly and rescheduled them for 12 April.[1] Upon insistence of the French, M'ba allowed opposition candidates to run, which it claimed was the main reason for starting the coup in the first place.[2] However, their leaders were barred from participating because of their involvement in the coup,[3] and known anti-Mba organizers were deported to remote parts of the country.[4] In addition, M'ba was known to have bribed voters with banknotes.[5] Severe electoral irregularities were reported.[6]

France closely followed the election, deporting a Peace Corps teacher.[4] Their military still maintained a presence there, which may have been an intimidation of voters. Further, they distributed leaflets and supported M'ba by other means.[6] The Gabonese Democratic and Social Union (UDSG) practically disappeared from the political scene, as many of its leaders had been jailed because of the coup, and M'ba's opposition was composed of parties that lacked national focus and maintained only regional or pro-democracy platforms.[7] The two major factions of this were the one who supported Aubame and one who was headed by a trade union leader

Nevertheless, the opposition garnered 44% of the vote and 16 of 47 seats in the assembly,[8] while the BDG received 54% of the vote and 31 seats.[7] The opposition disputed this, and held strikes across the country, though these did not have a sizable impact on business.[9]

Results[edit]

Party Votes % Seats
Gabonese Democratic Bloc 142,389 55.4 31
Gabonese Democratic and Social Union 114,704 44.6 16
Invalid/blank votes 5,679 -
Total 262,772 100 47
Source: Nohlen et al.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Mba Dissolves His Cabinet And Again Delays Election", The New York Times (Associated Press), 25 February 1964: 3, retrieved 18 September 2008 
  2. ^ Garrison, Lloyd (21 February 1964), "Gabon President Resumes Office: Mba, Restored by French, Vows 'Total Punishment' for All Who Aided Coup", The New York Times: 1, retrieved 8 September 2008 
  3. ^ Biteghe 1990, p. 94
  4. ^ a b Howe, Russell Warren (7 April 1964), "Election Sunday to Test French "Counter-Coup" in Gabon", The Washington Post: D7, retrieved 8 September 2008 
  5. ^ "French Stand Guard While Gabon Votes", The New York Times (Associated Press), 12 April 1964: 7, retrieved 23 September 2008 
  6. ^ a b Matthews 1966, p. 127
  7. ^ a b Biteghe 1990, p. 96
  8. ^ Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p400 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
  9. ^ "Troops Patrolling Capital of Gabon to Keep Order", The New York Times (Associated Press), 16 April 1964: 45, retrieved 8 September 2008 

References[edit]