Thursday, October 18, 2007

Togo ruling party wins election

Togo's governing RPT party has won a majority of seats in the weekend's parliamentary elections, the national electoral commission has said.

RPT has so far won 49 of the 81 seats, with the opposition UFC on 21. The CAR party has four and counting continues in seven. Turnout was put at 95%.

Togolese leaders hope the poll will convince foreign donors to resume aid after a suspension lasting 15 years.

President Faure Gnassingbe promoted a reconciliation policy President Faure Gnassingbe

All opposition parties took part for the first time in almost two decades.

Togo People's Rally (RPT) secretary Esso Solitoki said: "This is a victory for the Togolese people who voted massively. Together we shall rebuild this country."

Court confirmation

EU observers said there had been no reports of serious disturbances.

TOGO ELECTION IN NUMBERS Map showing location of Togo, Benin and Ghana

3,000,000 voters

2,150 candidates

81 seats in national assembly

3,000 observers

The BBC's James Copnall says the result was slightly unexpected given that all the major opposition parties took part.

The opposition has highlighted what it calls numerous irregularities, he says, but Togolese seem happy that for once elections did not bring violence.

Hundreds of people were killed during the 2005 presidential election, won by current President Faure Gnassingbe.

He replaced his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, the founder of RPT who had ruled for 38 years and dealt ruthlessly with the opposition.

The military carried out arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings during the 1990s, leading to the cutting of international aid.

Gnassingbe Eyadema's death was followed by further outcry when his own son was installed as president.

Faure Gnassingbe did step down in order for polls to be held but it was no great surprise when he emerged as the victor.

The RPT campaigned on the opening up and reconciliation policy then pursued by Faure Gnassingbe.

A constitutional court must confirm the results and can hear any legal challenges.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Togo ruling party wins election