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France urges transparency in Gabon vote's court challenge

Associated Press Associated Press 9/09/2016

PARIS — France's foreign minister says Gabon's constitutional court must assess a challenge to the outcome of the nation's presidential election with "transparency and impartiality."

Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement Friday the high court of the former French colony must consider the challenge brought by opposition candidate Jean Ping, who accuses incumbent President Ali Bongo Ondimba of fraud.

Official election results said Bongo won the Aug. 27 vote by less than 2 percentage points. There is no provision for a runoff in Gabon.

Ping, who seeks to unseat the family that has ruled this oil-rich Central African country for more than four decades, already has declared himself the winner.

European Union observers have said they found an anomaly in voting results in Bongo's stronghold province, which saw a 99.93 percent turnout.

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