Since independence in 1960, Gabon has had only three presidents including a father and son from the Bongo family who between them have held power for more than five decades.
Here are highlights in the history of the small central African country.
– Leon M’Ba to Omar Bongo –
Gabon becomes independent from France in August 1960, with nationalist Leon M’Ba elected president the following year.
He dies in 1967 and is succeeded by his deputy, Albert-Bernard Bongo, installed with the help of France.
Bongo sets up a one-party state, ruling with an iron fist and benefiting from oil exploitation.
READ ALSO: JAMB set to inaugurate transparency bulletin
He converts to Islam in 1973, changing his name to Omar Bongo.
As the sole candidate, he is elected president in 1973, 1979 and 1986.
A multi-party system is introduced after social unrest and riots in 1990 but Bongo nonetheless wins the elections in 1993, 1998 and 2005. Poll results are disputed or followed by unrest.
– From father to son –
Bongo dies from illness in June 2009 and, after a controversial election that August, one of his sons, Ali Bongo, is sworn in as president in a ceremony boycotted by the opposition.
Despite an opposition challenge, the constitutional court approves the election results but there is deadly post-poll violence and looting in the western oil hub, Port-Gentil.
The opposition slams Bongo’s “authoritarianism” and “autocratic leadership”.
Violent clashes in December 2014 pit opposition supporters against security forces during a banned demonstration to demand Ali Bongo’s departure. Officials say one person was killed, while the opposition puts the death toll higher.