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Sunday, October 18, 1998 Published at 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK

World: Africa

Omar Bongo stands again in Gabon

The president of Gabon, Omar Bongo, has announced his intention to stand in the next general election in December.

He'll stand against four other candidates, including Father Paul Mba Abesole, of the main opposition group The RNB or National Woodcutters Rally.

Correspondents say the long-awaited announcement is no suprise, because Mr Bongo has already been in the job for thirty-one years, and has expressed interest in taking Gabon into the twenty-first century.

Speaking on national television, Mr Bongo said economic crises had prevented him from fulfilling his economic programme, but he praised the country on its relative peace and unity.

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