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Togo Polls: Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party Wins Legislative Majority

The sweeping majority secured by President Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party follows the approval of controversial constitutional reforms by the outgoing parliament that could extend his 19-year rule.

Togo’s ruling party has won 108 out of 113 seats in parliament, according to the final provisional results of last month’s legislative election announced on Friday, May 3.

The sweeping majority secured by President Faure Gnassingbe’s UNIR party follows the approval of controversial constitutional reforms by the outgoing parliament that could extend his 19-year rule.

The new charter adopted in March also introduced a parliamentary system of government, meaning the president will be elected by parliament instead of by universal suffrage.

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Opposition parties were hoping to gain seats in the April 29 vote to enable them to challenge the UNIR party after they boycotted the last legislative poll and left it effectively in control of parliament.

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The election had been delayed twice because of a backlash from some opposition parties who called the constitutional changes a manoeuvre to allow Gnassingbe to rule for life.

Constitutional amendments unanimously approved in a second parliamentary vote earlier in April shortened presidential terms to four years from five with a two-term limit.

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This does not take into account the time already spent in office, which could enable Gnassingbe to stay in power until 2033 if he is re-elected when his mandate expires in 2025.

SourceReuters

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