Gabonese parliamentary election, 1964

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Parliamentary elections were held in Gabon on 12 April 1964. The elections were originally scheduled to be held during the week of an abortive coup, but 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 intimidation of voters, the opposition still garnered 45% of the vote.

Background[edit]

The elections were originally to be held the week of an abortive coup. As a result of the coup, M'ba dissolved the National Assembly and rescheduled them for 12 April.[1] Upon insistence of the French government, M'ba allowed opposition candidates to run, which it claimed was the main reason for the coup.[2] However, opposition leaders were barred from participating because of their involvement in the coup,[3] and known anti-M'ba organizers were deported to remote parts of the country.[4]

Campaign[edit]

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.[5] The two major factions of this were the one who supported Aubame and one who was headed by a trade union leader

Conduct[edit]

M'ba was known to have bribed voters with banknotes,[6] and serious electoral irregularities were reported.[7]

France closely followed the elections, deporting a Peace Corps teacher.[4] The French military still maintained a presence in the country, which may have been intimidating voters, and also distributed leaflets and supported M'ba by other means.[7]

Results[edit]

Despite issues with the elections, the opposition received 45% of the vote and 16 of 47 seats in the National Assembly,[8] while the BDG received 55% of the vote and 31 seats.[5] The opposition disputed the results, and held strikes across the country, though these did not have a sizeable impact on business.[9]

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
Registered voters/turnout 309,049 85.0
Source: Nohlen et al.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mba Dissolves His Cabinet And Again Delays Election", The New York Times, Associated Press, p. 3, 25 February 1964, 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, p. 1, retrieved 8 September 2008 
  3. ^ Biteghe, Moïse N’Solé (1990), Echec aux militaires au Gabon en 1964 (in French), Paris: Chaka, p. 94, ISBN 2-907768-06-9, OCLC 29518659 
  4. ^ a b Howe, Russell Warren (7 April 1964), "Election Sunday to Test French "Counter-Coup" in Gabon", The Washington Post, pp. D7, retrieved 8 September 2008 
  5. ^ a b Biteghe, p96
  6. ^ "French Stand Guard While Gabon Votes", The New York Times, Associated Press, p. 7, 12 April 1964, retrieved 23 September 2008 
  7. ^ a b Matthews, Ronald (1966), African Powder Keg: Revolt and Dissent in Six Emergent Nations, London: The Bodley Head, p. 127, OCLC 246401461 
  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, p. 45, 16 April 1964, retrieved 8 September 2008