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Presidential Election - 2020

The president's father Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup in 1967 and ruled for 38 years before his death. In response to protests, he introduced a 1992 constitution that brought in multi-party democracy and limited presidential terms to two. Ten years later, lawmakers scrapped the term limit so Eyadema could run for another term. However, ever since Gambian long-time leader Yahya Jammeh was forced out after losing an election in December 2016, West African countries have become unanimous in accepting two terms as the limit on presidential office - the only exception being Togo.

The United Nations urged Togo to respond to people's "legitimate expectations" as police clashed with protesters demanding an end to the 50-year ruling family dynasty for a third day on 08 September 2017. Thousands of people had taken to the streets since 06 September to demand that President Faure Gnassingbe step aside in the biggest challenge to his family's power since the death of his father in 2005. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the UN Special Envoy for West Africa and the Sahel, called on all parties "to preserve peace and security, which are valuable assets in West Africa". Chambas, who met with Gnassingbe, delayed his departure and is staying in Togo for further discussions, his spokesman said. "I remain convinced that all parties want to move forward on the reforms... in order to reach a consensus to respond to the legitimate expectations of the Togolese people," Chambas said in a statement.

The president was re-elected in 2010 and 2015, although the opposition rejected the results. The current president, who encouraged investment to try to turn his tiny nation into a business, banking and shipping hub modelled on Singapore or Dubai, sought to appease opponents by tabling a draft bill to reform the constitution and reintroduce a two-term limit. But opposition leaders reject it because it could still enable Gnassingbe to rule until 2030.

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