Five months before the upcoming elections, on Thursday the parliament of Gabon has voted to amend the Constitution to reduce the president’s term from seven years to five years.
This change also makes the presidential election into a single round. However, some opposition groups have criticized the changes and the end of two rounds of voting as a way to facilitate the re-election of Ali Bongo Ondimba, the current president.
The National Assembly and Senate held a joint session in the capital city of Libreville where the amendment was backed by 85% of the votes.
The amendments will bring all mandates in line at five years and elections will become single-round ballots again as they were before the changes made to the Constitution in 2018.
Presidential, legislative, and local elections are scheduled for the end of August, however, an official date has not been announced yet.
Ali Bongo Ondimba took over from his father Omar Bongo Ondimba in 2009 and is widely expected to run for re-election.
The opposition has failed to agree on a single candidate for the presidential election, and around 15 candidates have announced their intentions to stand.