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Togo heads to ‘controversial’ legislative polls on Monday

Togo heads to 'controversial' legislative polls on Monday

On Monday, Togo is set to hold legislative elections amid a backdrop of government crackdowns on opposition demonstrations and the recent approval of a contentious new constitution, potentially extending President Faure Gnassingbé’s tenure indefinitely.

Although President Gnassingbé’s party has pushed through the new constitution, awaiting his signature, it proposes a significant alteration: shifting the presidential election method from a direct vote by the people to parliament’s selection.

This move has drawn criticism from civil society groups and opposition factions, labeling it undemocratic and raising concerns about Gnassingbé’s prolonged stay in power.

Preceding the elections, protests from the opposition have been suppressed, and international journalists have been barred from covering the electoral process. Additionally, the Catholic Church, traditionally acting as observers, has been prevented from performing this role.

The upcoming vote presents an opportunity for the opposition to secure more parliamentary seats, potentially influencing significant policy decisions, including the ratification of the new constitution.

However, if President Gnassingbé ratifies the constitutional amendments before Monday’s elections, the incoming parliament would be stripped of its authority to address the matter.

President Faure Gnassingbé ascended to power in 2005 following his father’s passing, marking six decades of his family’s rule in Togo, establishing them as one of Africa’s longest-serving political dynasties.

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