by Aly Jonas

Elections in Togo: the opposition denounces a democratic masquerade

Élections au Togo : l'opposition dénonce une mascarade démocratique

The results of the legislative elections in Togo, held on April 29, 2024, sparked a strong reaction from opposition parties.

The ruling Union for the Republic (Unir) won 108 of the 113 seats in the Assembly, according to electoral authorities. However, the opposition party Democratic Forces for the Republic (FDR) contests these results, denouncing massive irregularities.

Maître Paul Dodji Apévon, president of the FDR, describes the electoral process as far from fair, citing large-scale fraud. He firmly declares: “We cannot call this an election in a normal country.” The opposition is considering consultation to decide on the course of action to follow regarding the seats obtained.

In response, Pascal Bodjona, political advisor to the Togolese president, emphasizes that appeals can be filed before the Constitutional Court for examination of allegations of fraud. He also places responsibility for the results on the opposition, arguing that unity could have guaranteed meaningful representation in the National Assembly. This tumultuous electoral context occurs as the country shifts towards a parliamentary regime, with a new Constitution promulgated on May 6, 2024 by President Faure Gnassingbé.

In Togo, the results of the legislative elections organized on April 29, 2024 are causing a lot of reaction in the ranks of the opposition parties. The ruling party, the Union for the Republic (Unir) won 108 seats of the 113 to be filled in the Assembly, according to the electoral commission.

The opposition party Democratic Forces for the Republic (FDR), which won a seat in the Assembly, does not recognize these results. “We never imagined that fraud could reach such scale,” says the president of the FDR, Maître Paul Dodji Apévon.

“We will not be able to accept what is proclaimed as a result” “In view of what we have experienced, as a candidate, as a party leader, what our candidates, our activists, our delegates have experienced on the ground , I honestly assure you that we cannot call it an election in a normal country, he says into the microphone of our correspondent Peter Dogbé. We will not be able to accept what is proclaimed as the result of a normal election. When you go to competitions, you have partners opposite who have the means, it's true, we recognize it, State means, but who only uses these State means to win? I can still understand, but that these leaders deliberately choose to ask their activists to go everywhere to violate people, to steal openly, but you call that elections? »

On whether or not to sit in the Assembly, Maître Paul Dodji Apévon reacts: “We were given a seat. Do we refuse to take this seat? No, the decision goes in this direction or not, but it is not FDR alone who will make it. We will consult with the others, the entire opposition as a whole, to find out what we do with what has been attributed to us as a result. »

“The opposition, if they had been in the dynamic of unity, would have had a significant number of seats” Faced with accusations from the opposition, which points to large-scale fraud, Pascal Bodjona, political advisor to the president of the Togolese Republic, responds, at the microphone of Liza Fabbian: “When an election is made and there are disputes, appeal votes are certainly open before the Constitutional Court and we will provide proof of the allegations made state. In any case, I think that the elections have been carried out and everyone can now analyze the results. »

Pascal Bodjona refers to the transition to the opposition the responsibility for its own results: “You know that the opposition activists, if they had been in the dynamic of unity of action, the opposition would have had a number consequent number of seats in the National Assembly. It was not the case. While you know well that we are in the proportional system in elections. Currently, we are waiting for the Constitutional Court to be able to give the final results and for the avenues to be open for appeals that political parties or lists will have to exercise before this Court. »President Faure Gnassingbé promulgated on May 6, 2024 the new Constitution adopted on April 19, which therefore shifts the country towards a parliamentary regime. The reality of power will therefore now be concentrated in the hands of a “president of the Council of Ministers” chosen from within the majority party in the Assembly.