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Parliamentary Election - July 2013

Parliamentary elections were first called for October 2012, but amendments to the electoral law shortly before the elections triggered street protests. The opposition argued that the amendments favored the government and demanded electoral reform, which postponed the elections twice to July 2013. The electoral law, revised in February 2013, includes a clause on gender parity that was not applied in the 2013 elections.

Togolese voters went to the polls 25 July 2013 in parliamentary elections that had been delayed since October 2012. The legislative elections were supposed to have been held last October, but they were postponed because of disagreement over opposition demands for electoral reform. Around 1,200 candidates contested 91 seats, and around 3 million of Togos 6 million people were eligible to vote, according to the electoral commission.

There were reports of delays and technical problems at several polling stations. The ruling party in Togo took the lead in the parliamentary elections which observers from the West African bloc, Ecowas, said were overall free and fair. But the main opposition coalition, Let's Save Togo, said the poll was marred by irregularities.

The Union for the Republic (UNIR) ran on the government's record, citing economic growth and improvements in infrastructure. The CST promised "a real change". Along with other opposition forces, it pushed for a two-term limit on the presidency that would bar President Gnassingbe from running for re-election in 2015. President Gnassingbe took power in 2005 on the death of his father, Eyadema Gnassingbe, after 38 years in office.

Results gave the Union for the Republic Party 62 of 91 seats - up from 50 of the 81 seats in contention in the last election in 2007. Opposition officials allege voting irregularities and confusion at some polling places, but African election observers did not report any major problems.

The Constitutional Court rejected opposition claims of fraud and vote buying, citing lack of evidence. International and national observers monitoring the election declared it generally free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, although there were logistical shortcomings. Human rights groups noted that the Ministry of Security cooperated with them to improve the professionalism of the security services during the election.

The UNIR party dominated politics and maintained firm control over all levels of government. UNIR membership conferred advantages, such as better access to government jobs. In contrast with previous years, legal restrictions on demonstrations were applied equally to both opposition and progovernment parties.

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