Confusion in Togo as Opposition Candidate Claims Victory in Presidential Elections

Faure Gnassingbe - Incumbent

The main opposition party candidate in the West African State of Togo, along with the incumbent President, have both claimed victory in an election ahead of results due to be announced on Saturday. This decision may set the stage for protests in a country whose 2005 elections vote was marred by violence as well. The elections held on Thursday’s was apparently seen as a test for democracy in a region where coups and flawed elections are rampant and in a country in which hundreds of demonstrators where massacred after the last presidential vote in 2005.

In the last Parliamentary elections held in 2007 there was no reported incidents of violence. Because of that foreign aid was restored but opponents to the President, Faure Gnassingbe, who happens to be the anointed son of Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for decades and whose death led to Faure’s assumption of the Presidency,  have accused him of planning to rig the elections this time around. Jean-Pierre Fabre of the main UFC opposition party said “On the basis of the counts from certain prefectures, the UFC candidate has won an average of 75 to 80 percent of the votes, we conclude that we have won the presidential election of March 4, 2010.”

A spokesman for the government rejected the claim and called it a joke. Pascal Bodjona, who is also minister for territorial administration told news agencies “The UFC is just trying to create trouble., from what we know of the returns, I think that the UFC has been completely routed.” 500 European and West African observers and more than 3,000 locals, monitored the election across the country and about half of the nation’s 6.6 million people were registered to vote. Organisers of the elections said the vote results will be announced by Saturday evening. The outcome of these elections will define the political future of this small West African Country.

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