Togo Holds Parliamentary Election to Gauge Backing for Proposal Extending Dynastic Rule

In Togo, citizens went to the polls Monday in parliamentary elections, serving as a crucial test of public sentiment towards a proposed new constitution. This constitution aims to abolish presidential elections, instead granting lawmakers the authority to choose the president. Critics, including opposition groups and religious leaders, argue that this move is a ploy by President Faure Gnassingbe, who has held office since 2005, to extend his rule. Despite their mandate expiring, lawmakers approved the legislation in March, bringing it one step closer to implementation. Togo has been under the rule of the same family for 57 years, initially led by Eyadema Gnassingbe and then his son, Faure Gnassingbe, whose legitimacy was disputed following contested elections. Opposition parties fear the proposed constitution could allow Gnassingbe to remain in power beyond his current mandate, ending in 2025.

Preceding the elections, authorities cracked down on civil liberties and media freedom, banning protests against the new constitution and detaining opposition figures. The electoral commission also barred the Catholic Church from deploying election observers. A French journalist covering the elections was arrested, assaulted, and expelled, while Togo’s media regulator suspended the accreditation process for foreign journalists.

Despite concerns about the fairness of the electoral process and low voter turnout, approximately 4.2 million registered Togolese citizens participated, out of an estimated population of 8 million. They elected candidates for 113 parliamentary seats, an increase of 22 from the previous assembly, and filled 179 senatorial positions for the first time. Preliminary results were expected within six days. To ensure security, Togo’s authorities sealed borders and deployed around 12,000 gendarmes and police officers to oversee the voting process. Given the prevalence of misinformation during West African elections, authorities cautioned against spreading false results or misleading information. Voters expressed apprehension about the proposed constitutional changes, underlining the significance of the current election for the future of the country.

 

 

 

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4410 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network