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Togo ruling party secures dominant victory in legislative election

The final provisional results, announced, solidify President Faure Gnassingbé’s grip on power and raise concerns about the country’s political landscape.
Togo ruling party secures dominant victory in legislative election www.whoownsafrica.com Togo ruling party secures dominant victory in legislative election www.whoownsafrica.com
Supporters of opposition party Dynamics for the Majority of the People (DMP) took party in election.

Togo’s ruling party, Union for the Republic (UNIR), has emerged victorious in the recent legislative election, winning a staggering 108 out of 113 seats in parliament.

The final provisional results, announced on Friday, solidify President Faure Gnassingbé’s grip on power and raise concerns about the country’s political landscape.

The landslide victory for UNIR comes on the heels of controversial constitutional reforms approved by the outgoing parliament that could potentially extend Gnassingbe’s rule, which has already spanned 19 years.

The changes, adopted in March, include a shift to a parliamentary system of government, effectively allowing the president to be elected by parliament rather than through universal suffrage.

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Togo ruling party secures dominant victory in legislative election www.whoownsafrica.com
Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, coordinator of the Dynamics for the Majority of the People (DMP), casts her ballot during the Togo’s parliamentary and regional elections in Lome, Togo April 29, 2024. Noel Kokou Tadegnon | Reuters

Opposition parties, who had hoped to make gains in the election, were left disappointed as UNIR’s dominance remained unchallenged. The boycott of the last legislative poll by opposition parties had left UNIR in control of parliament, paving the way for this overwhelming victory.

The election, initially scheduled for April 29, faced delays due to opposition backlash against the constitutional amendments. Critics viewed the changes as a ploy to enable Faure Gnassingbé to rule indefinitely, sparking widespread protests and calls for political reform.

The approved amendments, which include a reduction in presidential terms to four years with a two-term limit, failed to placate opposition concerns.

Togo ruling party secures dominant victory in legislative election www.whoownsafrica.com
Supporters of the Union for the Republic (UNIR) wear t-shirts with the portrait of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe on it during a campaign meeting in Lome on April 27, 2024. © Dodo Adgoli, AFP

The ambiguous clause regarding the calculation of time spent in office leaves room for Gnassingbe to potentially extend his tenure until 2033, raising further doubts about the democratic process in Togo.

As Togo grapples with the aftermath of the legislative election, questions loom about the future of the country’s political landscape and the potential for opposition resurgence.

The UNIR party’s dominant victory underscores the challenges facing democracy in Togo and raises concerns about the consolidation of power in the hands of a ruling elite.

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