Portal:Gabon

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The Gabon Portal

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Gabon (/ɡəˈbɒn/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡabɔ̃]) is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with the Gulf of Guinea to the west, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, and Cameroon to the north, with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. Its size is almost 270,000 km² with an estimated population of 1,500,000. The capital and largest city is Libreville.

Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, the Republic has been ruled by three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. The small population density together with abundant natural resources and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with the highest HDI in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Mountain panorama
Credit: FX

Mountains in Gabon

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A presidential election was held in Gabon on 30 August 2009 after the incumbent President Omar Bongo Ondimba died on 8 June 2009. While the constitution stated that Interim President Rose Francine Rogombé should organise elections within 30 to 45 days, the Constitutional Court accepted the government's request for a delay due to the circumstances.

23 candidates were approved to contest the election, although six of them withdrew immediately before the election, reducing the field to 17 candidates. Despite the large number of candidates, three of them were considered the key contenders for the Presidency: Ali-Ben Bongo, the son of Omar Bongo, who was the candidate of the long-ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG); Pierre Mamboundou, a radical opposition leader who was backed by a coalition of parties; and André Mba Obame, a former PDG member who ran as an independent and won the backing of several other candidates.

According to official results announced on 3 September 2009, Bongo won the election with a plurality of 41.7% of the vote, while Mba Obame and Mamboundou both trailed with about 25% each. Opposition supporters reacted violently to the results. (Read more...)

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Paleonegrids.JPG
Credit: A. Cottes

A group of Beti-Pahuin men in Gabon.

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Paul Marie Indjendjet Gondjout (4 June 1912 – 1 July 1990) was a Gabonese politician and civil servant, and the father of Laure Gondjout, another prominent Gabonese politician. Gondjout was a member of the Mpongwe ethnic group, and served in the French colonial administration from 1928, and founded the Cercle amical et mutualiste des évolués de Port-Gentil in 1943. He was a delegate to the French Senate from 1949 to 1958, and founded the Gabonese Democratic Bloc (BDG). In 1954, Léon M'ba joined the party and eventually overthrew Gondjout as leader.

In 1960, then President M'ba reshuffled the government without consulting Parliament. When Gondjout filed a motion of censure he was charged with attempting a coup d'état and sentenced to two years in prison. Following his release, M'ba appointed him to the largely symbolic post of President of the Economic Council, in part to silence the threat he represented.

Gondjout served as Minister of State during the abortive 1964 Gabon coup d'état but was acquitted of all charges during his subsequent trial. He lived outside public view from his 1966 acquittal to his death on 1 July 1990 and there is little record of his life during this period.

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