Togo opposition party rejects presidential poll results

CAP declares its candidate winner despite electoral commission announcing Faure Gnassingbe had won with 59 percent.

To - election resulted rejected by opposition
The results sparked anger among opposition supporters although they are subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court [AFP]

Togo’s main opposition party has rejected official presidential election results declaring victory for incumbent Faure Gnassingbe with 58.75 percent of the vote, and instead claimed a win for its candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre.

“CAP 2015 [Combat for Political Change] and its candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre categorically reject the fraudulent results which bear no resemblance to those compiled from reports collected in polling stations by its representatives,” said coalition campaign director Patrick Lawson-Banku.

The party “is pleased about the victory of Jean-Pierre Fabre,” Lawson-Banku told a news conference on Wednesday.

Fabre said he considered himself to be the West African nation’s new president-elect.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced on Tuesday evening that Gnassingbe had won with 58.75 percent, with his main opponent Fabre picking up 34.95 percent of votes.

The results were provisional and subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court, it added.

Fabre had hoped to oust Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 and was seeking a third term of office, as well as bringing an end to nearly 50 years of rule by the president’s family.

Al Jazeera’s Ama Boateng, reporting from the capital Lome, said the opposition leader had used “very strong words” to denounce Gnassingbe’s victory.

“We have just come from opposition party headquarters and there’s a lot of emotion, there’s a lot of passion there,” she said.

“Jean-Pierre Fabre has spoken and has called for his supporters to protest because he talked about this being a takeover and a crime against national sovereignty. So these are very strong words.”

Term limits 

Both President John Mahama of Ghana and his counterpart from the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, have visited Togo and urged parties to try to find a way forward, said our correspondent.

The controversy surrounding the elections, Boateng said, is about how long a president should stay in power.

“In ECOWAS … there are only two countries without term limits – and that’s Gambia and Togo, so he [the president] was entitled to run for a third term,” she said, referring to the regional bloc that brings together West Africa nations.

Lawson-Banku called on people to turn out in force “using all legal means to ensure that this latest takeover fails”.

The campaign director was asked whether he was calling for civilians in the tiny West African country to take to the streets.

“The right to protest is prescribed by law. There is no need for permission to demonstrate,” he said.

Gnassingbe’s father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in 2005, ruled Togo for 38 years after seizing power in a coup.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies