Togo's ruling party wins legislative vote in power-extending boost for Gnassingbe

Togo’s ruling party won a parliamentary majority in April’s legislative elections, the country’s electoral commission said Saturday, after a divisive constitutional reform critics say allows President Faure Gnassingbe to extend his time in power.

Gnassingbe’s Union for the Republic party (UNIR) won 108 of 113 seats in the new assembly, according to provisional results announced by the national electoral commission.

The participation rate in the election was 61 percent, according to the electoral commission president Dago Yabre, who gave the results in a national broadcast.

Under the new constitution approved by lawmakers in April, Gnassingbe will now be able to take a new post as president of the council of ministers, a role similar to prime minister that is automatically assumed by the leader of the majority party in parliament.

Already in power for nearly 20 years, Gnassingbe succeeded his father Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for almost four decades in the small coastal West African state between Benin and Ghana.

Opposition parties denounced the constitutional reform as an “institutional coup” for creating a role tailor-made for Gnassingbe to evade presidential term limits and extend his family’s political dynasty.

UNIR loyalists say the reform made Togo’s democracy more representative.


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