Togo Holds Parliamentary Elections Amidst High Stakes and Hopes for Democratic Progress

0 198

On Monday, approximately 4.2 million registered voters in Togo are set to cast their ballots in parliamentary elections that have been postponed and are now surrounded by controversy, contributing to the existing tensions in a West African region fraught with instability.

Approximately 2,000 candidates are competing for a total of 113 parliamentary seats and 179 regional councilor seats

In a departure from previous electoral processes in Togo—a nation with a population of eight million—where voters elected representatives to the nation’s parliament as well as its president, the forthcoming election will involve only an indirect voting system. This modification, resulting from a constitutional overhaul, has sparked outrage and triggered protests among certain segments of the population, potentially entrenching the lengthy and authoritarian governance of President Faure Gnassingbe even further.

On April 20, the parliament, controlled by the ruling UNIR party, approved significant constitutional amendments amidst strong opposition from both politicians and civil society organizations, who denounced the move as a constitutional coup.

The approval came after a second reading passed with an 87-0 vote. Supporters claim these changes will lead to a weaker presidency and a stronger legislature, yet the president has hesitated to sign the amendments into law due to their broad unpopularity.

Under the new amendments, the method of electing the president will shift from a popular vote to a selection by parliament members, effectively making the presidency a largely symbolic role with a single four-year term.

In place of the current system, the constitution introduces a much more powerful prime minister, who will be appointed by the president to serve a six-year term.

This maneuver solidifies Gnassingbe’s hold on Togo for as long as he maintains control over his party and secures electoral victories. The lack of citizen input in endorsing or rejecting these proposals heightens concerns that the primary objective is to perpetuate his grip on power.”

“At 57 years old, Gnassingbe has wielded authority since 2005, clinching resounding victories in four successive elections. He succeeded his father, Etienne Eyadema Gnassingbe, who governed Togo for nearly 38 years until his passing in 2005. With a combined reign of 57 years, the family stands as Africa’s longest-ruling dynasty, cementing their legacy in governance.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.