Gabon: Long queues at polling centres after deadline extension for voter registration

Young people on their feet for hours, jostling and sparring, at town hall in Libreville’s 3rd arrondissement

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Thousands of Gabonese have thronged electoral roll registration centers in the country following the announcement of a deadline extension. Operations began on May 9 and were due to end on June 8, but were then postponed by the Interior ministry for three days, until June 11.

On Thursday, many young people formed long queues at the town hall in Libreville’s 3rd arrondissement, where the courtyard, corridors and offices were packed.

Some took the time to share opinions about the forthcoming elections. 

“For the next presidential election in Gabon, we want the elections to go very well. We do not want to see violence like elsewhere.” Ndogho Christine, a student told our correspondent.

“Frankly, the future presidential election is nothing but regime change, because the old one doesn’t convince me. It’s not just me. I hope everyone here is of the same opinion.” a young Gabonese said. 

Many at the hall however lamented the process of registration for the electoral roll. “We’ve been here since 8 o’clock, and now it’s 12 o’clock,” said one of them. “We’re not making any progress, the procedure is very slow, we don’t know what to do” he added.

It was the same atmosphere at the 5th arrondissement town hall. “There are fights, discussions, so there’s a bit of craziness, there’s a bit of disorder,” says one man. “If we can add a few days, so that everyone can register, because right now it’s too stressful,” pleads a woman. 

Presidential and parliamentary elections have been scheduled in Gabon between the end of August and the beginning of September, but no official date has been announced as yet.

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