Two-year transition to elections 'reasonable,' says Gabon's PM
A two-year transition before the free elections promised by Gabon's new military rulers is a "reasonable objective," the new prime minister they appointed told AFP in an interview Sunday.
"It's good to set off with a reasonable objective by saying: we have the desire to see the process come to an end in 24 months so we can go back to elections," said Raymond Ndong Sima, prime minister during the transition. That period could end up being slightly longer or shorter, he added.
Ndong Sima was appointed last week as head of the transitional government by General Brice Oligui Nguema, who led the August coup against President Ali Bongo Ondimba.
The coup happened on August 30, moments after Bongo had been declared the winner of a presidential election that both the army and the opposition declared fraudulent.
Nguema, proclaimed president for the transitional period, immediately promised to hand the country back to civilian rule with elections after a transitional period, the length of which he did not immediately specify.
Ndong Sima, 68, is a Paris-educated economist who served as prime minister under Bongo from 2012 to 2014 before becoming a critic and competing against him in the 2016 and 2023 presidential campaigns.
(Cover: This video grab taken from a video obtained by AFPTV from Gabon 24 on September 9, 2023, shows Gabon's transitional Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima announcing the transitional government during a speech on television. /CFP)