After 40 Years of Dictatorship, Gabon Votes

Gabon is headed to the polls for the West African country’s first real election since the rise of Omar Bongo as president some four decades ago. Bongo died in June, as one of the world’s longest-serving heads of state, and now will be replaced.

Gabon, a major oil producer and one of the wealthiest and most stable African nations, is an important base for Western military and humanitarian operations. But the country balances atop a fragile oil-and-lumber mono-economy that has enriched a few, while leaving some 30-percent of the people in poverty. Gabon represents a unique set of problems: delicate stability, relative wealth and a sudden plunge into true democracy. Cross your fingers.

(Video: David Axe)