Gabon has approved 19 candidates, including current President Ali Bongo and several former ministers, for a presidential election next month, the election commission said.
Bongo’s candidacy was approved despite opposition claims that he is unfit for the presidency. He suffered a stroke in October 2018 and was flown to Morocco for medical treatment.
The president of the Gabonese Elections Center, Michel Stephane Bonda, said 27 applications were received by the deadline for filing nomination papers and 19 were approved.
Bongo came to power in a contentious 2009 election following the death of his father Omar Bongo and won re-election in 2016. Both of Bongo’s election wins were disputed by the opposition, who said he won fraudulently.
He is standing for a third term after ruling for almost 14 years. Gabon has no constitutional term limits.
Former Mines Minister Alexandre Barro Chambrier is seen as Bongo’s main challenger. The Paris-born economist is for the first time taking part in the presidential election.
Other candidates include Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou, founder and president of the Social Democratic Party, and Raymond Ndong Sima, former prime minister.
The campaign for the presidential election will start on Aug. 11 and the voting will take place on Aug. 26.