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Togo court affirms contested election of incumbent president

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Togo [official website, in French] on Wednesday affirmed [Embassy press release, PDF] the election of incumbent President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe [official profile] despite five suits alleging voter fraud filed by the opposition. The court held [AFP report] that the accusations made by the opposition were unsubstantiated. The final vote totals decided by the court gave Gnassingbe 60.88 percent of the vote, and his main opponent, Jean-Pierre Fabre, 33.93 percent. The final results closely resembled those originally reported after the March 4 election. Fabre has rejected the court's decision and stated that he plans to hold demonstrations against the election.

Last month, the court ruled that presidential candidate Kofi Yamgnane [campaign website, in French] was not eligible to run [JURIST report] in the election due to inconsistent records of his date of birth and conflicting immigration documents. Yamgnane asserted that the decision was a pretext to eliminate the most dangerous candidate to Gnassingbe's ruling Rally of the Togolese People (RTP) [party website, in French] party. Gnassingbe took office [JURIST report] in February 2005 immediately following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema [BBC obituary], who was president of Togo for 38 years and one of the country's longest serving leaders. Gnassingbe's unconstitutional succession to office [JURIST report] was met with international outcry, and pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) [official website] member countries led to his resignation [JURIST reports]. Togo's Parliament then named Abass Bonfoh, a member of the ruling party, as acting president. In May 2005, the constitutional court confirmed Gnassingbe as the official winner of the disputed presidential election [JURIST reports].

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