Gabon’s Senate leader has been sworn-in as the country’s interim President following the death of life-long leader Omar Bongo. Known as the “Iron Lady”, Rose Francine Rogombe becomes the central African nation’s first ever female leader.
Omar Bongo died in a Spanish clinic on Monday and his body will arrive home on Thursday for four days of national mouring. The 73-year year old had been in power for more than four decades. His funeral next week is expected to draw leaders from all over the world including France, which has a strong relationship with its former colony. French energy firm Total is one of the biggest investors in Gabon and there are around 1,000 French troops stationed there. Under the constitution, elections should be organised within 45 days. Factions within the ruling elite will now be jostling for power – Bongo’s son, Defense Minister Ben Ali Bongo, is seen as a leading candidate.