Togo Presidential Elections: Faure Gnassingbe Seeks To Extend Dynasty’s Rule

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Togolese citizens have cast ballots in a presidential election expected to extend incumbent Faure’s 15 years in office, and his family’s rule of more than half a century.

Some political analysts expect Gnassingbe to win the election outright in the first round.

The 53-year-old leader took office in 2005 after the death of his father, Eyadema Gnassingbe, who led the country for 38 years after seizing power in a coup in 1967.

Gnassingbe faces six rivals from a divided and historically weak opposition, including Jean-Pierre Fabre, a former journalist and human rights campaigner who came second in elections in 2010 and 2015, and former Prime Minister Gabriel Messan Agbeyome Kodjo, who represents a coalition of opposition and civil society groups.

Hours after polls closed, Kodjo’s house in the capital, Lome, was surrounded by security forces. It said that the government had confirmed the move, saying it was for “his own safety”.

A large contingent of security forces were blocking all access to the property, while military roadblocks were being put up in Lome and Gnassingbe said he was pleased with the turn-out.

The president pushed through constitutional changes last year allowing him to stand again this year, and potentially stay in office until 2030.

The constitutional change caps the presidential mandate to two five-year terms, but does not take into account the three terms Gnassingbe has already served.

Polling stations opened at 07 am GMT on Saturday and closed at 04 pm GMT, with provisional results expected in six days.

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