Speaker steps in as Gabon president

African country gets first female leader following death of long-standing president.

    Rogombe is Gabon's first female president and
    will rule for a transitional period [AFP]

    Bongo, who died in Spain, was reportedly being treated for cancer. On Monday, Jean-Eyeghe Ndong, the prime minister, said he had died of a heart attack.

    Rogombe, 66, will have most of the powers of an elected president apart from authority to dissolve parliament or to hold referendums, court officials said.

    She is constitutionally ineligible from standing in the presidential poll, due to be held between 30 and 45 days.

    Vacuum averted

    The government acted fast to avert a power vacuum after Bongo, Africa's longest-serving head of state, died in a Barcelona hospital.

    Rogombe was born in 1942 at Lambarene, 240km southeast of Libreville.

    A trained lawyer and member of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) founded by Bongo, Rogombe was elected senate president for six years last February.

    "We saw the ceremony with some satisfaction because she's a woman but there was also plenty of emotion and tears because of the president's death," Francoise Makaya, a PDG politician, said.

    In a country observing 30 days of mourning, national and international tributes will be paid until June 18, when the late president's body will be taken for burial to his native Franceville region in the east.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.