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Togo Holds Crucial Parliamentary Elections Under New Governance Charter

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Mbeki edmond

Apr 29, 2024

Constitutional Reforms and New Parliamentary System

On Monday, Togo initiated its long-awaited legislative elections following a series of constitutional reforms approved by the previous parliament. These reforms, which could potentially extend the 19-year reign of President Faure Gnassingbe, include a shift to a parliamentary governance system where the president will now be elected by parliament members instead of by public vote.

In March, Togo adopted a new charter transitioning to a parliamentary governance system. This change means that the head of state will no longer be chosen through universal suffrage but will be elected by the newly formed parliament.

Moreover, under the new constitution, there is a new role, the president of the council of ministers, who is endowed with substantial powers to oversee government operations in this coastal West African nation.

The election was initially postponed twice due to opposition from certain parties who viewed the constitutional amendments as a strategy for President Gnassingbe to maintain power indefinitely.

Despite these controversies, the polls opened at 0700 GMT with over four million registered voters expected to choose from 2,352 candidates vying for 113 parliamentary seats. Provisional results are anticipated as early as Tuesday.

Voters expressed mixed feelings about the organization of the election process. While some, like Parfait Akakpo from the capital, Lome, remain hopeful for development and peace, others faced logistical issues. Klevor Edoh Firmin highlighted problems such as missing names on voter registers and the undue strain on elderly voters.

Following their boycott of the previous legislative elections, opposition parties are eager to secure seats to challenge the dominance of Gnassingbe's UNIR party. Accusations of suspected electoral fraud by some opposition candidates underscore the high stakes of this election.

As Togo navigates these pivotal legislative elections under its new constitutional framework, the outcomes could significantly impact the nation's political landscape. The world watches as Togo decides on its path forward amidst hopes for enhanced governance and national stability.

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