Togo’s ruling party, the Union for the Republic (UNIR), has won a majority – 59 of the 91 seats in the country’s National Assembly – in parliamentary elections held last December 20.
The ballot was preceded by violent riots. Actual voting was overshadowed by a boycott by the main opposition parties and the post-election period is marked by a rejection of the outcome by the 14-party opposition coalition (C-14) who are campaigning against what they call a hold-up on power by the Gnassingbe family.
President Faure Gnassingbe’s party did not secure the four-fifths majority it would need to change the constitution and allow Gnassingbe to hold on to the presidency beyond 2020.
“The results do not correspond to the wishes of the Togolese people who did not take part in the elections,” one of the opposition leaders, Nathaniel Olympio, told reporters in the capital, Lome.
In power since 2005, Faure Gnassingbe succeeded his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in power after a reign of 38 years. That reign started after Gnassingbe Eyadema staged Africa’s first military coup killing Togo’s first president, Gilchrist Olympio, who happens to be the father of opposition leader Nathaniel Olympio.
[Photos of Faure Gnassingbe and members, Constitutional Council declare official results, courtesy official website of the Government of Togo]