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Presidential Election - April 2015

On 25 April 2015, President Faure Gnassingbe was re-elected with 59 percent of the vote to a third five-year term. International and national observers monitoring the election declared it generally free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, although there were logistical shortcomings. Security forces did not interfere with voting or other aspects of the electoral process; they played no role and remained in their barracks on election day.

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.

The opposition in Togo said the presidential election was marred by ballot-stuffing as partial results indicated President Faure Gnassingbé was set to win by a wide margin. Gnassingbé onTuesday looked poised to win a third term, with 69 per cent of the vote against almost 18 per cent for Jean-Pierre Fabre of the opposition coalition Combat for Political Change (Cap2015).

The opposition alleged that the number of ballots cast was higher than registered voters in "many" polling stations, according to a Fabre adviser, Marcus Kodjo. "No equity, no transparency, corruption, something unbelievable," he said in a phone interview from Lomé, the Togolese capital, adding that "many" people could not find their names on voter lists.

Other opposition parties had called for a boycott and voter turnout appears low at 55 per cent in comparison with the previous presidential poll in 2010. "The Togolese people as a whole are fed up with these electoral masquerade," said Claude Amengavi, the president of the Workers’ Party, which had called on its supporters to refrain from voting.

The African Union, which sent observers to monitor the election, concluded that voters had been allowed "to choose their president... freely and in transparency". Amos Sawyer, the head of an election team sent by west African regional bloc Ecowas said the vote had overall been "free, transparent and organised in an acceptable manner".

The divided and fractious opposition’s reaction was predictable. Every single opposition party leader knew that were going to lose the elections. They were already trying to find excuses to justify their loss.

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