Mamboundou, leader of the Union of Gabonese People, came second to Bongo in elections in 2005. Bongo’s son, Defense Minister Ali Bongo Ondimba, is running as the candidate of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party.
Mamboundou has pledged to fight corruption and waste in government and to promote officials based on their expertise rather than their ethnicity. His nomination by the coalition marked the first time that opposition parties have rallied behind one candidate.
“Gabon needs another way to govern,” Mamboundou said today at his party headquarters in Libreville, the capital.
Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa’s sixth-biggest oil exporter, produces manganese and sold $1 billion of Eurobonds in 2007. Bongo, who died at the age of 73, ruled the West African nation for 41 years and was the longest-serving ruler in the world at the time of his death.
“You have asked for a single candidate for the opposition,” Louis-Gaston Mayila, leader of the Union for the New Republic, one of the five parties backing Mamboundou, told reporters today at his home. “I offer you hope, I offer you a new way for Gabon.”
Other candidates planning to run for president in the polls scheduled for Aug. 30 include Oil Minister Casimir Oyé Mba, former Prime Minister Jean Eyeghe Ndong, who resigned on July 17 to become an independent candidate, and the ex-interior minister, Andre Mba Obame.
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