President asks for election delay
The President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, has asked the Constitutional Court for a delay of one year in the parliamentary elections to December 2012.
The elections should have taken place in December 2011. Because the country wishes to introduce biometrics to prevent fraud, the money and resources needed could not be made available within the 2011 budget and hence causing the request.
The President consulted twice with the ruling party and opposition leaders, all of whom were in favour of a delay.
The constitution allows for a delay in elections due to force majeure, and it will be up to the court to decide if this proposed delay falls under that heading. Normally a force majeure situation would be a major natural catastrophe.
The cost of a new biometrics system is likely to be around CFAF (XAF) 60 million and take five months to put in place.