Leaders Ask For Calm At Gabon Presidential Inauguration

Oct. 15, 2009, midnight

Gabonais President-elect Ali BONGO Ondimba called for public order on Thursday in advance of his Friday swearing-in ceremony. Interim President Rose Francine ROGOMBE told citizens to avoid "chaos" and "accept that this election is now behind us." The country's constitutional court certified BONGO'S August 30 election on Monday. The court on October 13 confirmed the result of a recount, delayed several times, which it held after more than two dozen opposition leaders challenged the vote's outcome. Allegations of fraud fueled post-election riots in and around Port-Gentil, Gabon's capital, including attacks against French political and economic interests. Assuming de facto political power, BONGO responded in part by banning opponents from leaving the country. He succeeds his late father, Omar BONGO Ondimba, who ruled for 41 years.

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