Togo court confirms ruling party win in parliamentary polls

AFP , Monday 12 Aug 2013

The court said it rejects the appeals due to a lack of evidence

Togo's constitutional court on Monday validated results from last month's parliamentary polls giving the ruling party a two-thirds majority and allowing President Faure Gnassingbe's family to maintain its decades-long grip on power.

The court's ruling finalises the results from the July 25 polls and saw it reject five appeals, including those alleging fraud and intimidation.

Gnassingbe's UNIR party won 62 of 91 seats in the vote, while the closest opposition was the Let's Save Togo coalition with 19 seats.

"Overall, voting took place according to the applicable procedures and regulations," court president Aboudou Assouma said.

The court said it rejected the appeals due to a lack of evidence.

Agbeyome Kodjo, a former prime minister and member of Let's Save Togo who has alleged fraud and called the results a "sham," denounced the court's decision.

"It just merely confirmed the (electoral commission's) provisional tampering," Kodjo told AFP.

The most prominent Let's Save Togo candidate was Jean Pierre Fabre, the longtime opposition leader who finished second to Gnassingbe in 2010 presidential elections.

The coalition has held a couple of protests since the provisional results were issued.

The results mean the president's party will control an even greater percentage of seats than it did previously. It won 50 of 81 seats in the last legislative elections in 2007.

Observers from the African Union and West African bloc ECOWAS have said that the elections were held in acceptable conditions.

The polls were the latest step in the impoverished country's transition to democracy after Gnassingbe Eyadema's rule from 1967 to his death in 2005, when the military installed his son, Faure Gnassingbe, as president.

Gnassingbe has since won elections in 2005 and 2010 which the opposition claims were fraudulent.

The long-delayed parliamentary polls came after months of protests, with the opposition seeking sweeping electoral reforms.

Many of the protests were dispersed by security forces firing tear gas, while some 35 people, mostly opposition members, were detained in the run-up to the vote in connection with suspicious fires at two major markets.

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