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Togo: Togo Government Profile


President Faure Gnassingbe

President: Faure Gnassingbe

Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema succeeded his father at the same time as died in 2005, having ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.

The military installed Faure Gnassingbe as president, but following intense local and international pressure he stepped aside and called elections. Hundreds died challenging his victory in those polls.

In the subsequent presidential elections in March 2010, he was declared winner, with 61% of the ballots against the major opposition's candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre, who received 35% of the vote. The opposition complained of fraud again and staged repeated protests.

In talks to end the dispute, Gilchrist Olympio, leader of the major opposition Union of Forces for Change (UFC) and son of initial post-independence president Sylvanus Olympio, struck a transaction with Mr Gnassingbe under which the UFC would join the government - to the disgust of a lot of opposition stalwarts.

In an attempt to overcome international isolation, boost investment and calm growing domestic unrest, President Gnassingbe promised that parliamentary elections in 2013 would be free and equitable. The elections were held in July, with the ruling UNIR party winning two-thirds of parliamentary seats - according to provisional results - and allowing the president's family to maintain its decades-long grip on power.

Opposition groups have protested at changes to the electoral law which they say further favour the governing coalition, but are looking ahead to presidential polls in 2015 that could see a critical challenge to the Gnassingbe family's decades in power.

The 2007 legislative elections, which the international community judged to be free and transparent, make it possible to begin normalising relations between Togo and the grant-making community. Togo’s creditors who are members of the Paris Club, the European Union (EU), which had funded the election, denounced “insufficient transparency measures.”
Social dialogue was maintained with the creation of a national dialogue council (CNDS), a tripartite organisation comprised of government, union and employer representatives.

Togo - Government

The constitution of 30 December 1979 provided for a president nominated by the RPT and elected for a seven-year term by universal adult suffrage at age 18. The president nominated and presided over the cabinet and may policy by decree next declaring a national of emergency. Members of the National Assembly were nominated by the RPT and due elected for five years. The legislature, which may be dissolved by the president, met twice a year.
A new constitution mandating multiparty elections was approved in a referendum on 27 September 1992. Although opposition parties are permitted, they are subjected to intimidation and coercion. Chief of national, President Gen. Gnassingbé Éyadéma, has held power since 14 April 1967, making him sub-Saharan Africa's longest ruling leader. The cabinet is a Council of Ministers appointed by the president and the prime minister. Given the weakness of the legislature, and the RPT's majority, public decision-making authority resides with the executive.
According to the constitution, the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. In the 21 June 1998 election, Éyadéma officially was reelected president with 52.1% of the vote. The opposition rejected the results as fraudulent. In December 2002, the National Assembly amended the constitution, removing a clause stipulating that the president could be reelected "only once." The next presidential election is scheduled for June 2003. The legislature, the 81-seat National Assembly, is likewise selected in national, multi-party elections.

Togo - Political parties

Political parties in Togo were considerably additional active and competitive before independence than next, and from 1969 till the legalization of opposition parties in 1991, Togo was a one-party national. In the initial Territorial Assembly elections in 1946, there were two parties, the Committee of Togolese Unity (Comité de l'Unité Togolaise—CUT) and the Togolese Party for Evolution (Parti Togolais du Progrès—PTP). The CUT was overwhelmingly successful, and Sylvanus Olympio, the CUT leader and Assembly president, campaigned for Ewe reunification. The CUT controlled all Assembly seats from 1946 to 1952. In the 1952 elections, however, the CUT was defeated, and it refused to participate in further elections because it claimed that the PTP was receiving French support. In the territorial elections of 1955, the PTP won all 30 Assembly seats, and at the same time as Togo was given autonomy in 1956, Nicolas Grunitzky, PTP leader, became prime minister.
In the UN-supervised elections of April 1958, the CUT regained power with a request for independence from France, while the PTP and the Union of Chiefs and Peoples of the North (Union des Chefs et des Populations du Nord—UCPN) advocated that Togo remain an autonomous republic within the French Union. The two defeated parties merged in October 1959 to form the Togolese People's Democratic Union (Union Démocratique des Populations Togolaises—UDPT), under Grunitzky's leadership.
In March 1961, the National Assembly enacted legislation that based elections to the Assembly on a party-inventory system, with a single ballot in which a majority would be decisive. In the April 1961 elections, which were held on this single-inventory system, candidates from the alliance of the UDPT and the Togolese Youth Movement (Mouvement de la Jeunesse Togolaise—Juvento) were prevented from registering and were not permitted on the ballot. As a result, the new Assembly consisted entirely of CUT members.
Next Olympio (who had become president in 1960) was assassinated by military insurgents, Grunitzky, who was living in exile in Benin (again Dahomey), was invited back to Togo to form a provisional government. Grunitzky announced that free elections would be held, but in fact the delegates of the four leading parties—UDPT, Juvento, the Togolese Unity Movement (Unité Togolaise, formed from the CUT next Olympio's assassination), and the Togolese Popular Movement (Mouvement Populaire Togolais)—inclunding the insurgents' Committee of Vigilance, agreed on a single national union inventory of candidates. In the elections of 5 May 1963, Grunitzky became president and Antoine Meatchi vice-president; a new 56-member Assembly was elected; and a new constitution was approved by national referendum. In early 1967, however, Grunitzky was deposed, and a military regime took power, with no constitution and no legislature.
Organized political activity was suspended until 1969, at the same time as the Togolese People's Rally (Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais—RPT) was founded as the country's sole legal political party. President Éyadéma heads the RPT, which has a Central Committee and a Political Bureau. In the 1979 and 1985 legislative elections, all candidates were nominated by the RPT. In the 1994 legislative elections, however, other parties participated.
Political opposition to Éyadéma has become bolder since late 1990. For years, an anti-Éyadéma group, the Togolese Movement for Democracy (Mouvement Togolais pour la Démocratie), functioned in exile from Paris. Next opposition parties were legalized on 12 April 1991, and particularly next the National Conference engineered a governmental change in August 1991, other parties began to function, albeit in an atmosphere of threat from the armed forces and pro-Éyadéma gangs. Part the country's parties as of 1996 were the Coordination des Forces Nouvelles (CFN), Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), Togolese Union for Democracy (UTD), Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), Union for Democracy and Solidarity (UDS), Pan-African Sociodemocrats Group (GSP—an alliance of three radical parties: CDPA—Democratic Convention of African Peoples, PDR–Party for Democracy and Renewal, and PSP—Pan-African Social Party), Union of Forces for Change (UFC), and Union of Justice and Democracy (UJD).
All major opposition parties boycotted the 1993 elections, delaying elections until February 1994. The winners distributed the seats as follows: CAR 36, RPT 35, UTD 7, UJD 2, CFN 1. However, as a result of defections from the CAR to the RPT and the merging of the UJD with the RPT, representation in the National Assembly in August 1997 was RPT 42, CAR 32, UTD 5, CFN 1, independent 1, giving Eyadema's party a narrow majority.
The next legislative elections were scheduled to be held in 1998, but disagreements between the divided opposition and the RPT delayed them, and thwarted efforts to achieve a national consensus on how the elections were to be conducted. The opposition boycotted them in March 1999 to turmoil the alleged cheating by Éyadéma and his supporters in the June 1998 presidential election. Evolution was made in defining the role of the national electoral commission (CENI), and by April 2000, the two sides had agreed to return to the table to discuss endorsement of an electoral bill, and related issues pertaining to national reconciliation. Legislative elections were delayed throughout 2000, 2001, and early 2002; they were finally held on 27 October 2002. The elections were judged to be democratic and transparent by international election observers. The two major opposition parties, the UFC and the CAR, grouped as the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CFD), boycotted the elections, and the RPT emerged with 72 of the 81 seats. As well winning seats were the Rally for Democracy and Improvment(Rassemblement pour le souteien de la démocratie et du développement—RSDD), 3; the Union for Democracy and Social Evolution (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social—UDPS), 2; Juvento, 2; the Believers' Movement for Equality and Peace (Mouvement des croyants pour l'égalité et la paix—MOCEP), 1; and an independent won 1 seat. In early 2003, the UFC pulled out of the CFD umbrella opposition organization, due to disagreements with its strategies and its agreement to sit on the newly reformed electoral commission, CENI, which the UFC judged to be manipulated by the government.

Togo - Local government

Togo is divided into five administrative regions—Maritime, Plateaux, Centrale, Kara, and Savanes—each supervised by an inspector. The regions are subdivided into 30 prefectures and 4 sub-prefectures. Inspectors and prefects are appointed by the president. The prefectures have elected councils. The prefectures and sub-prefectures are subdivided into cantons. Togo's initial direct local elections were held on 5 July 1987.
A policy of decentralization has been undertaken in Togo, and local communities comprise 30 communes, 9 of them "fully independent" with an elected mayor, and 21 "semi-independent" with the prefect acting as mayor. Communes have popularly elected municipal councils.

Togo - Judicial system

Maintaining the independence of the judiciary is the responsibility of the Superior Council of Magistrates, which was set up in 1964 and includes the president of the republic as chairman, the minister of justice, the president and vice president of the Supreme Court, and others. A Constitutional Court is the highest court of jurisdiction in constitutional matters. The Supreme Court sits in Lomé; there is as well a sessions court (Court of Assizes), and Appeals Courts. Tribunals of initial instance are divided into civil, commercial, and correctional chambers; labor and children's tribunals; and the Court of National Security, set up in September 1970 to judge crimes involving foreign or domestic subversion. A Tribunal for Recovery of Public Funds handles cases involving misuse of public funds.
The judicial system blends African traditional law and the Napoleonic Code in trying civil and criminal cases. In practice, the judiciary is subject to the influence and control of the executive branch.
Defendants in criminal cases are presumed innocent and are afforded the right to counsel. Village chiefs or a Council of Elders may try minor criminal cases in rural areas. Appeals from such rulings may be taken to the regular court system.
Trials are open and judicial procedures are generally respected. However, the judicial system suffers from the lack of personnel and remains overburdened.

Togo - International cooperation

Togo was admitted to UN membership on 29 September 1960. It is a member of ECA and all the nonregional specialized agencies except IAEA. Togo as well belongs to the African Development Bank, ECOWAS, G-77, and African Union. The country has signed the Law of the Sea and is a member of the WTO.
One priority of Togo's foreign policy is development of regional cooperation. In pursuit of this goal, Togo was a prime mover in the founding of ECOWAS. Togo has been an active member of the Conseil d'Entente, which includes Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin. Togo hosted the signing ceremony for the Lomé Convention (providing for preferential treatment by the EC for developing nations) in February 1975.
Government type: 

republic under transition to multiparty democratic rule

Administrative divisions: 

5 regions (regions, singular - region); Centrale, Kara, Maritime, Plateaux, Savanes


27 April 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: 

Independence Day, 27 April (1960)


adopted by public referendum 27 September 1992

Legal system: 

French-based court system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations


18 years of age; universal (adult)

Legislative branch: 

unicameral National Assembly (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch: 

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders : 

Action Committee for Renewal or CAR [Yawovi AGBOYIBO]; Democratic Convention of African Peoples or CDPA; Democratic Party for Renewal or PDR; Juvento [Monsilia DJATO]; Movement of the Believers of Peace and Equality or MOCEP; Pan-African Patriotic Convergence or CPP; Rally for the Support for Development and Democracy or RSDD [Harry OLYMPIO]; Rally of the Togolese People or RPT [Faure GNASSINGBE]; Socialist Pact for Renewal or PSR; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Gagou KOKOU]; Union of Forces for a Change or UFC [Gilchrist OLYMPIO]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 


International organization participation: 


Flag description: 

five equal horizontal bands of green (top and bottom) alternating with yellow; a white five-pointed star on a red square is in the upper hoist-side corner; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia