Libreville - Leading Gabonese opposition politicians joined ranks on Wednesday to create a new party ahead of 2011 legislative elections.

"This is an historic moment," the president of the newly created National Union (UN) party Zacharie Myboto told several hundred supporters in Libreville.

"For the first time in our country, opposition parties have decided to come together for political change," Myboto added, describing the opposition's determination to build a unified Gabon.

The new party comprises three Gabonese opposition parties - the Gabonese Union for Democracy and Development (UGDD) along with two smaller groupings, the African Development Movement (MAD) and the National Republican Rally (RNR).

Several former heavyweights of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) have thrown their support behind the UN party.

They include former interior minister and current opposition leader Andre Mba Obame. Two former prime ministers, Casimir Oye Mba and Jean Eyeghe Ndong, are now vice-presidents of the new movement.

Founded by late Gabonese leader Omar Bongo Ondimba, the PDG has swept all previous legislative elections. Bongo's son Ali was sworn in as president in October, two months after his disputed election victory.

The UN will hold its first meeting next Sunday. -Sapa-AFP