Togo president elected for second term

Nairobi/Lome (Togo). March 7 (DPA) Togo’s president has won a second term in office, according to provisional results by the West African Nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Saturday.

Faure Gnassingbe received 1.2 million votes, compared to almost 700,000 cast for his nearest rival Jean-Pierre Fabre, the BBC quoted CENI as saying.

Fabre Friday claimed victory, raising fears of a repeat of the violence that followed polls in 2005.

There was no immediate official reaction from Fabre to the result.

Some reports said police fired tear gas at several hundred opposition supporters, led by Fabre, earlier in the evening as they protested partial results that showed Gnassingbe had won.

Voters turned out peacefully Thursday to choose between seven candidates, including Gnassingbe, 43, and Fabre, 58.

However, tensions mounted ahead of CENI’s announcement.

Fabre Friday said he was sure he had won, while a spokesman for Gnassingbe also claimed partial results showed a huge victory for the president.

Fabre, and his Union of Forces for Change (UFC) party, has repeatedly said he has no faith in the electoral process. Friday, he said he believed there were irregularities in the voting.

Violence after the last presidential election has left many on edge, and the opposition is in no mood to accept defeat.

In 2005, hundreds of people died during protests, sparked by the UFC’s claims it had been cheated out of victory. International observers backed the UFC, saying there were irregularities in the hastily arranged poll following the death of Gnassingbe’s dictator father General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years.

The Togolese Red Cross has mobilised hundreds of volunteers to potential flash points in case of an outbreak of violence.

Election observers from the African Union, European Union and regional West African grouping ECOWAS monitored the proceedings.

While voting at the polling stations appears to have been largely transparent, the local offices were not allowed to publish their ballot counts, raising fears that the vote could be tampered with at CENI’s central office.



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