The junta that seized power in Gabon in August announced today that it intends to hold elections in August 2025, two years after the military coup that overthrew President Ali Bongo.

The coup plotters clarified that this is an “indicative” timetable for the transition to democratic governance, which remains to be finalized and approved after public consultation. At the same time, they announced that at the end of October 2024 they will present the new Constitution, for the approval of which a referendum will be held in November or December of the same year.

The military seized power in a coup on August 30 after Gabon’s central electoral commission announced the re-election of Ali Bongo for a third presidential term. Ali Bongo assumed the presidency of Gabon in 2009, following the death of his father. Omar Bongo was Africa’s longest-serving leader, having ruled the country since 1967.

His critics charge that the Bongo family exploited the country’s mineral wealth for their own benefit rather than looking after the welfare of its roughly 2 million citizens.

The August coup in Gabon was the eighth in west and central African countries since 2020. It followed coups in Guinea, Chad and Niger, and two in quick succession in Mali and Burkina Faso, causing concern among foreign powers that hold strategic interests in the region.

Military takeovers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger were sparked by the authorities’ failure to combat jihadist insurgencies that have spread across the wider Sahel region over the past decade. The coups have been condemned by regional organizations that are pressuring regime leaders to call elections as soon as possible.