Togo’s Ruling Party Secures Parliamentary Majority, Sustaining Dynasty’s Grip on Power

Togo’s ruling party has emerged victorious in the nation’s parliamentary elections, securing a notable majority, according to the election commission’s provisional results. The opposition, however, has rejected these outcomes, alleging they are part of a strategy to extend President Faure Gnassingbe’s rule. The provisional results, revealed late Saturday, indicate that the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party claimed a staggering 108 out of 113 seats. This electoral contest served as a litmus test for public support regarding a proposed new constitution that seeks to abolish presidential elections, transferring the authority to select the president to lawmakers.

The proposed constitution proposes a presidential term limit of four years with a two-term cap. This scenario sets the stage for the potential re-election of the 57-year-old Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005. Gilbert Bawara, a spokesperson for the ruling party, expressed confidence in the election results, asserting strong backing from the Togolese populace.

However, both the opposition and religious leaders have vehemently denounced the election results and the legislation passed by lawmakers in March, following the expiration of their mandate. Togo’s political landscape has been dominated by the same family for 57 years, initially under Eyadema Gnassingbe and then his son, Faure Gnassingbe, who assumed office amid disputed elections. The proposed new constitution is perceived by the opposition as a maneuver for Gnassingbe to extend his tenure beyond 2025.

Despite nearly half of Togo’s 8.8 million citizens being registered to vote, voter turnout varied widely across regions. Opposition spokesperson Eric Dupuy criticized the parliamentary vote, drawing parallels to North Korea, while analysts voiced concerns over whether the election met voter expectations. Turnout rates ranged from as low as 33% in some areas, like the capital city of Lome, to as high as 97% in the ruling party’s strongholds in the north.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia