Ruling party wins Togo election

After 13 years, opposition parties participate in polls seen as free and fair.

Observers said the poll was free and fair [AFP]
Observers said the poll was free and fair [AFP]

Togo timeline


Togo, officially called the Togolese Republic, is located on Africa’s west coast, bordering Ghana in the west, Benin in the east, and Burkina Faso in the north.

Its population is about 6.1 million.

1960: Togo gains independence under Sylvanus Olympio, the first president.

1963: Olympio is assassinated in a military coup  by a group of soliders under the directions of Sergeant Etienne Eyadema Gnassingbe.

1967: Gnassingbe launched a bloodless coup and appointed himself as president.

1991: Political parties were legalised.

1992: A democratic constitution was adopted.

1998: A joint investigation by the UN and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) concluded that elections this year resulted in ‘systematic human rights violations’.

2005: Gnassingbe dies after 38 years in power. He was Africa’s longest serving ruler.

Faure Gnassingbe, his son, is appointed as president, provoking international condemnation.

According to the UN, at least 500 people were killed in violence during polls held two months later.

As many as 40,000 people fled to neighbouring countries.

Tozim Potopere, chief of the independent National Electoral Commission, said results for the seven remaining seats were still being tallied and would be released later on Thursday.


Counting has not been completed in two constituencies, including Lome, the capital, where the UFC appeared to be leading, leaving seven seats still up for grabs.


Once the full results are announced, they will be presented to the constitutional court to be confirmed. The court can also hear any legal challenges.


Good turnout


Officials said turnout was 95 per cent, reflecting enthusiasm for the election in which opposition parties participated for the first time in 13 years. They had boycotted the last parliamentary elections in 2002, arguing that the process was rigged.


The ruling party’s founder, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died two years ago after ruling the country for 38 years.


Hundreds of opposition supporters were killed by security forces when the army named his son, Faure Gnassingbe as president in a move that violated the constitution. Tens of thousands more fled the country.


After winning flawed and violent 2005 elections, Gnassingbe held talks with opposition parties and formed a national unity government, starting a democratic process that led to Sunday’s multi-party elections.


The RPT based its campaign on what the president had achieved in office in the way of reconciliation and improving relations with the opposition.


Esso Solitoki, secretary of RPT, said: “This is a victory for the Togolese people who voted massively. Together we shall rebuild this country.”


Free and fair polls


Observers from the Economic Community of West African States
(Ecowas) reported on Tuesday that the election was “free, fair and open”.


The 15-nation group sent 152 military and civilian monitors to track the poll.


European Union observers were also among more than 3,500 Togolese and foreign observers monitoring the poll.


It is hoped the elections will lead to a resumption of international aid to the country, which has had decades of authoritarian rule and periods of bloody unrest since independence in 1960.


The EU, once Togo‘s biggest donor, froze most aid to the country in 1993, citing a poor democratic record.

Source: News Agencies


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