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Presidential campaigns wrap up in Gabon
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12:56, August 30, 2009

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The presidential campaigns by all candidates in Gabon wrapped up on Sunday with Ali Bongo Odimba, the only candidate from the ruling Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG)calling on voters to go to the polling stations to cast their votes on Sunday.

In his final campaign in Botanique Garden in the First District in the capital city of Libreville, Ali Bongo Odimba said to his joyful supporters "Since I get your support, I will surely win the presidential election."

"I am here with the Gabonese people," he said.

Wearing T-shirts with slogans of "Peace for Gabon" and "I vote for Ali", thousands of supporters rallied in Botanique Garden in the capital city to voice their strong support for Ali.

Ali Bongo Odimba urged on his supporters to cast their votes on Sunday.

"Do not be afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. Go to the polling stations bravely," Ali Bongo Odimba said.

Also on Saturday, independent candidate Andre Mba Obame and Pierre Mamboundou, a candidate from the party of Gabon's union of people held their final rallies in the capital city.

Obame, the former interior minister, and Mamboundou had been campaigning for change for the west central African nation.

The presidential campaigns formally kicked off on Aug. 15.

The ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) on July 19 formally announced that Ali Bongo Odimba, the son of late president Omar Bongo and the then defense minister of the country, would stand as its candidate in the race.

Ali Bongo Ondimba was dismissed as minister of national defense on Aug.15 by interim president Rose Francine Rogombe so as to contest in the presidential election on an equal footing as other candidates.

Accepting the nomination by the ruling party, he underlined the national unity by vowing that if elected, he would spare no efforts in fighting corruption and redistribute the proceeds of economic growth.

Ali Bongo Odimba's campaign has focused on his platform of peace, development and equality.

"We are going to jealously guard the peace which was left behind by the late president Omar Bongo Ondimba while stressing on durable development and the equitable distribution of resources to all the people," he said to the local population in the western province of Estuaire during last weekend.

Ali Bongo also announced to reform the education system and improve the professional training while taking into account the state potential and the market needs if he is elected.

"Our duty will be to create jobs all over," he said while promising to never interfere with the work of the two parliamentary chambers, the senate and the national assembly, in which his party has the majority representation.

Ali Bongo was quoted by local media as saying on July 23 that if elected, he would not seek to remain in power forever.

"If the Gabonese place the trust in me and elect me to the head of state, I certainly will not stay 40 years, rest assured."

He is widely seen here as a favorite to win the presidential election to be held on Sunday.

On July 23, the Permanent and Autonomous National Electoral Commission announced that there would be 23 candidates compete for the country's top job.

Gabon's state television reported on Saturday evening that five candidates had withdrawn from the presidential election, leaving 18 candidates to compete on Sunday's race.


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