Ali Ben Bongo, son of Gabon's long-time ruler Omar Bongo, declared himself Aug. 31 as well ahead in an election to succeed his father as president of the oil-producing central African nation. Former defense minister Ben Bongo had long been tipped as front-runner in Sunday's poll, but faced a last-minute challenge as several candidates dropped out to rally behind a rival. "Information received from various constituencies across Gabon and abroad make me easily the winner," Ben Bongo told a news conference at the headquarters of his ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG). (Reuters)

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