In Togo, a new constitution contested by the opposition was adopted just days before legislative elections

Ten days before legislative elections, Togolese representatives on Friday April 19 firmly adopted a new constitution contested by opposition parties. The new constitution, which was adopted in the evening with 87 votes to 87, meant that there would be no direct suffrage to elect the president, while at the same time electing the president. Head of the Council of Ministers who concentrates all powers.

According to the terms of the new constitution, the Supreme Judiciary has been emptied of its essence as it has lost all prerogatives of the new President. It is the representatives who elect the head of state “Without Argument” And “For a period of four years, renewable once”. The actual exercise of power rests in the hands of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, a sort of super-prime minister, who is essential “Majority Party Leader” For the National Assembly, imposes a new text.

The opposition sees the new process as a ploy by President Faure Gnassingbe, who succeeded his father as head of state in 2005 after nearly thirty-eight years in charge of the country. He is the leader of the Union for the Republic (UNIR), the majority party in the legislature.

Also Read | Elections in Togo: A campaign in tension

The “institutional coup” was condemned by the opposition

To Nathaniel Olympio, leader of the Parti des Togolais (PT, opposition), Togolese President “Demonstrated that the main concern of his regime was to retain power at all costs”. With the new constitution, “The function of the President of the House gives one the latitude to exercise power in an unlimited manner, and therefore, logically, we hold that this is the position he has reserved for himself”He explained to AFP on Friday morning.

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The head of state had already reshuffled the constitution in 2019, which allowed him to run for two new additional mandates in 2020 and 2025. But he would have been forced out of power by 2030.

Togolese representatives had already adopted the new constitution on March 25, after hours of debate and without the text being made public, which immediately sparked an outcry among the opposition and civil society. “Corporate Conspiracy”.

Also Read | In Togo, the new constitution was drafted according to Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé

To take effect, the new constitution still needs to be promulgated by the head of state.

Assembly elections in tension

The constitutional change, scheduled for April 20, days before the assembly elections, was going badly, but was eventually postponed to April 29, to give delegates time to vote on the text again, as the head of state had requested. They will be held on the same day, and for the first time in the country, regional elections.

Unlike last year 2018 when they boycotted the assembly elections, this year the opposition parties have decided to come out in a big way. He had planned two days of demonstrations on April 12 and 13, but they were banned by the authorities, who also prevented members of the opposition from meeting.

In a region plagued by coups (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea) and political crises (Senegal), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent a mission to Lomé on Monday. The regional agency initially noted “critical environment” In Togo and “The Severity of Controversial Constitutional Reforms”. Before doing a Facebook post the next day, she explained the process in a press release “Pre-Selection Assessment” And “As indicated in the previous statement, I will not engage in any further process”.

Also Read | In Togo, a new constitution prompts opposition outcry

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The world with AFP

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