Gabon lifts presidential term limits

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Gabon has adopted a new constitution that would let President Ali Bongo remain in power indefinitely.

The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new legislation which allows the unlimited renewal of the presidential seven-year term.

The president also will be immune from prosecution during and after his time in office. The opposition called it an attempt to turn Gabon into a monarchy.

Previously, Gabon had a limit of two seven-year presidential terms.The president has 25 days to approve the National Assembly’s decision.

Mr. Bongo took office in 2009, after his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the oil-rich state for 42 years, died.

Bongo is the son of Omar Bongo, who was President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently, he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009.

Following his father’s death after 41 years in power, he was first elected in the August 2009 presidential election. He was re-elected in August 2016, in elections marred by numerous irregularities, arrests, human rights violations and post-election violence.Bongo is also President of the PDG.

Critics of President Ali Bongo claim a bid to revise the national constitution would establish a monarch in place of the free a country without free democracy.

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