A 24-month transition to elections in Gabon would be “reasonable” after last month’s coup, junta-appointed Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima was quoted as saying by French news agency AFP on Sunday.
Army officers seized power on Aug. 30, annulling an election minutes after an announcement that President Ali Bongo had won, which they said was not credible.
The junta has promised to oversee free and fair elections, but has not given a timetable for organizing them.
In the first comments on a possible length of this transition, Ndong Sima told AFP: “It is good to start with a reasonable goal by saying: ‘We hope to see the process completed within 24 months so that we can return to elections.’
Bongo took office in 2009, succeeding his father Omar Bongo who ruled the country for some 42 years, gaining a reputation for iron-fisted rule and kleptocracy.
He was re-elected in bitterly disputed circumstances in 2016 but two years later suffered a stroke that weakened his grip on power.
According to the official disputed results, Bongo picked up 64.27 percent of the vote against 30.77 percent for Ondo Ossa.
In the immediate aftermath of the coup, Ondo Ossa urged Oligui to step aside, arguing that he had won the elections but the outcome had now been “cancelled” by the military takeover.
He also suggested that Oligui and Bongo were connected by family ties, and that the event was less a coup than a “palace revolution” that was now perpetuating what he called the “Bongo system.”