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1998 Gabonese presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Gabon on 6 December 1998. Incumbent President Omar Bongo Ondimba, in power since 1967, sought a seven-year term against five other candidates. It was Gabon's second multi-party presidential election and, despite low turnout and polling problems, Bongo won the election with 66.88% of the vote.[1][2]



In late July 1998, the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) called for Bongo to run for re-election, praising him as a "trump card for the third millennium". Also in July, the opposition National Woodcutters' Rally (RNB) split into two factions, one headed by Paul M'ba Abessole and one headed by Pierre-Andre Kombila, after Kombila was expelled from the party.[3]

Pierre Mamboundou of the Union of the Gabonese People (UPG) ran as the candidate of the High Council of the Resistance, a coalition of opposition parties that included the UPG, the African Forum for Reconstruction, the Mebiame Group, MORENA–Original and the Socialist Emancipation Movement of the People.[4][5] The Gabonese Progress Party (PGP) of Pierre-Louis Agondjo Okawé supported Mamboundou.[6]

Opinion pollsEdit

The publication of opinion polls was prohibited by the National Communication Council during the week immediately preceding the election.[7]


According to final results from the Constitutional Court, Bongo won the election with 66.88% of the vote. Mamboundou officially placed second with 16.54% of the vote.[8][9] Mamboundou denounced the official results as an "electoral coup d'etat" and called on the people to begin a "graduated response" by engaging in a stay at home ("ghost city") protest.[9] Following the election, he alleged that commandos sent by the government tried to kill him on 12 December 1998.[10] While Mamboundou's call for people to stay at home was mostly ignored in Libreville, Port-Gentil was reportedly "paralysed".[11]

Candidate Party Votes %
Omar Bongo Ondimba Gabonese Democratic Party 211,955 66.9
Pierre Mamboundou Union of the Gabonese People 52,278 16.5
Paul M’ba-Abessole National Woodcutters' Rally 47,701 13.2
Pierre André Kombila National Woodcutters' Rally – Democratic 4,847 1.5
Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou Social Democratic Party 3,152 1.0
Martin Edzodzomo Ella Independent 1,548 0.5
Alain Engouang Nze National Confederation of Woodcutters Associations 892 0.3
Joseph Adrien Mabicka Maguena Independent 527 0.2
Total 316,900 100
Source: Nohlen et al.


Jean-François Ntoutoume Emane was Bongo's campaign manager during the election, and he was subsequently appointed as Prime Minister in January 1999.[12]


  1. ^ Gabon presidential election
  2. ^ Nohlen, D, Krennerich, M & Thibaut, B (1999) Elections in Africa: A data handbook, p404 ISBN 0-19-829645-2
  3. ^ "GABON: Ruling party seeks Bongo re-election", IRIN-WA Update 259 of Events in West Africa, 25–27 July 1998.
  4. ^ "Gabon: Two presidential candidates declared", Africa No 1 radio (, 6 June 1998.
  5. ^ Elections in Gabon African Elections Database
  6. ^ "Gabon: Opposition leader says President Bongo prisoner of his own men", Radio France Internationale (, 24 August 1999.
  7. ^ "GABON: Presidential candidate accused of gun running", IRIN-West Africa update 349, 30 November 1998.
  8. ^ "Gabon: Opposition leader protests at results, alleges assassination attempt", Radio France Internationale (, 13 December 1998.
  9. ^ a b "GABON: Opposition calls for strike action to protest election results", IRIN-West Africa Update 359, 14 December 1998.
  10. ^ "U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2000 - Gabon",, 26 February 2001.
  11. ^ "Gabon: Port Gentil "paralysed" by opposition strike", Africa No 1 radio (, 15 December 1998.
  12. ^ "New prime minister for Gabon", BBC News, 23 January 1999.