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Gabon opposition figure rallies support as president hospitalised

Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping has again claimed victory in elections held in 2016, as President Ali Bongo is being treated in a hospital abroad.

Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping
Gabon opposition leader Jean Ping

Speaking in Libreville, Mr Ping urged the nation to overcome its divisions and rally around a common ideal.

He said this ideal was the one conveyed in the August 2016 poll, adding it was him who really won most of the votes.

Bloody protests erupted after President Bongo was officially declared the winner by a razor-thin margin.

Mr Bongo, whose family has governed the west African nation for some 50 years, is currently being treated at a hospital in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.

There has been no official news about the president’s condition since an initial announcement 10 days ago that he was extremely tired and needed to rest.

After the 2016 poll, Gabon’s opposition claimed the vote had been rigged and demanded a recount – but this was rejected by the country’s constitutional court.

In its ruling, the court partially changed the results of the bitterly-fought election, giving President Bongo 50.66% of the vote and Mr Ping 47.24%. BBC News