EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Thursday that the military coup in Gabon could not be compared to the crisis in Niger.
People in Gabon went to the polls on Saturday to vote in general elections. But after President Ali Bongo was announced as the winner on Wednesday, officers said they had seized power and placed him under house arrest.
Borrell said they intervened after the now ousted president won an unfair election.
“Naturally, military coups are not the solution, but we must not forget that in Gabon there had been elections full of irregularities,” he said.
“There are military and institutional coups, where weapons are not needed. If I cheat in the elections to achieve power, that is also an irregular way to arrive in power. ”
Borrell was speaking as EU foreign ministers were due to discuss how to help west Africa’s ECOWAS regional group handle the 26 July military takeover in Niger.
The EU and ECOWAS both firmly oppose the Niger military’s overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum, but Borrell argued that the similar dramatic events in Gabon were not comparable.
In Niger, the president was democratically-elected, while in Gabon, the Bongo family has ruled the oil-rich country for close to 60 years. Ali Bongo took over as president in 2009 following the death of his father Omar.