Opponents slam Togo’s new constitution as ploy for Gnassingbé to stay in power

Togo’s presidency has asked the parliament for a “second reading” of a controversial constitutional reform approved last week following public outcry over what opponents say is a ploy by President Faure Gnassingbé to hold onto power and extend his nearly two-decade-long rule.

In a statement published on Friday, Gnassingbé’s office says the “second reading” of the reform was justified by the “interest of the public aroused by the text since its adoption” last week.

The constitutional reform, which was approved with 89 votes in favour, one against and one abstention, would grant parliament the power to choose the President, doing away with direct elections.

This would make it likely that Gnassingbé, whose party controls the parliament, would be re-elected in next year’s presidential election.

Gnassingbé has ruled the country for 19 years, since 2005 when he took over after the death of his father, Gnassingbé Eyadema, who seized power in a coup in 1967. The last elections date back to 2020.

He faced widespread demonstrations in 2017 and 2018 calling for an end to his family’s rule. A crackdown on protests including internet shutdown helped Gnassingbé survive the demonstrations and in May 2019 his government voted in a change to Togo’s constitution potentially enabling him to remain in office until 2030.

Share this:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *