WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the post-election clashes in Gabon:
“In July, I cosponsored legislation encouraging Gabon's leaders to respect democratic principles during the elections held this past weekend. I was dismayed by the outbreak of violence following the announcement of preliminary official results. In addition to the attacks on the parliament building and opposition candidate Jean Ping's party headquarters, I have also seen reports that six opposition leaders have been arrested and of increasing restrictions on telecommunications and social media.
“I am also concerned at reports of irregular vote tallies in Haut-Ogooué province, known to be a stronghold of incumbent Ali Bongo Ondimba. Despite 59 percent voter turnout nationally, this province reported 99 percent. Therefore, I join the State Department's call for the publication of results by polling station in order to improve the transparency of the electoral process. I also urge both Bongo and Ping to call upon their supporters to refrain from violence during this tense time.”