Togo ruling party wins parliamentary majority: election commission

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 28, 2013 6:52 PM

LOME (Reuters) - Togo's ruling party has won more than two-thirds of the seats in last week's parliamentary election, according to results announced by the tiny West African nation's elections commission late on Sunday.

Opposition parties had hoped to win the parliamentary majority needed to push through reforms to curb the power of one of Africa's oldest political dynasties. President Faure Gnassingbe's family has ruled Togo for nearly five decades.

But Gnassingbe's UNIR party won 62 out of 91 seats in the single-chamber body, the commission announced on national television. UNIR held 50 of 81 parliamentary seats before the election on Thursday.

Togo's 10 opposition parties, which are pushing for a two-term limit on the presidency that would bar Gnassingbe from running for reelection in 2015, together took just 25 seats.

Independents and a party currently in Gnassingbe's government took the remaining four seats.

"The National Independent Elections Commission wished to organize a transparent, peaceful electoral process. It's pleased to have fulfilled its mission," Angel Aguigah, the commission president, said following the announcement of the results.

The results will be transferred to Togo's constitutional court which will hear any challenges before certifying them.

While the election was not marked by the kind of violence that has tarnished some previous polls, the principal opposition grouping, CST, has denounced what it said were irregularities and evidence of fraud.

Election observer missions including from the African Union and regional bloc ECOWAS said the process had been acceptable and transparent.

The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, called for any disputes over the results to be settled through the proper legal channels.

"It is important that all Togolese continue to demonstrate responsibility by privileging dialogue and refusing violence," she said in a statement.

Gnassingbe's father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, seized power in a 1967 military coup.

The current president was put in power with army backing upon his father's death in 2005 and won presidential elections organized later that year and again in 2010 that the opposition said were marred by fraud.

(Reporting by John Zodzi; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Paul Simao)