Gabon’s government steps down after election delays

Gabon's government resigned on Tuesday, the day after the constitutional court dissolved the national parliament and also called for the country's leadership to step down over election delays.

Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet "submitted the resignation letter of his government following the decision of the constitutional court to put an end to the powers of the current legislature, resulting in the resignation of the current government," a statement said.

According to the court, the government should have organised twice-delayed elections by April 30 at the latest.

The powers of the disbanded National Assembly will be transferred to the upper house Senate until elections are held, the court added. A date for the ballot is yet to be announced.

President Ali Bongo's re-election in 2016 led to opposition accusations of electoral fraud.

Violence broke out days after the vote, and opposition figures say more than 50 people were killed in clashes. The official toll was only three dead.

Bongo took over power from his father Omar Bongo, who had ruled for 41 years until his death in 2009.

Gabon has large oil, mineral and tropical timber resources, and its per-capita national income is four times greater than that of most sub-Saharan nations.

But about a third of its population of 1.8 million still live below the poverty line -- the result, say experts, of inequality, poor governance and corruption.

Source: Seychelles News Agency