|Year||Candidate||Party||% of vote|
|1961||Sylvanus Olympio||The Party of Togolese Unity (PUT)||Elected unopposed|
|1963||Nicolas Grunitzky||Togolese Peoples Movement (MPT)||Elected unopposed|
|1979||Gnassingbe Eyadema||Rally of the Togolese People (RPT)||Elected unopposed|
|1986||Gnassingbe Eyadema||RPT||Re-elected unopposed|
|Adani Ife||Togolese Alliance for Democracy (ATD)||1,67%|
|Gilchrist Olympio||Union of Forces for Change (UFC)||34,2%|
|Yawovi Agboyibo||Action Committee for Renewal (CAR)||9,6%|
|Zarifou Ayeva||Party for Democracy and Renewal (PDR)||3,0%|
|Leopold Gnininvi||Democratic Convention of African Peoples (CDPA)||0,8%|
|Jacques Amouzou||Union of Independent Liberals (ULI)||0,4%|
|Maurice Dahuku||Socialist Party of Renewal (PSR)||2,2%|
|Edem Kodjo||Pan-African Patriotic Convergence (CPP)||1,0%|
|Nicolas Lawson||Party for Renewal and Redemption (PRR)||1,04%|
|Harry Olyimpio||Rally for the Support of Democracy and Development (RSDD)||0,55%|
Introduction and Election Results
In a country where election violence is commonplace, West African Togo held Presidential elections on March 4, 2010, amid fears that they might trigger violence, similar to that of the 2005 election, where about 500 people were massacred through State violence after protesting the installation of Faure Gnassingbe (son of the long-serving dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema).
Issifou Tabiou, head of the country's electoral body, announced that Faure Gnassingbe, the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) candidate, won 1,2-million votes representing 60,92% of the vote. The main challenger, Jean-Pierre Fabre, of the Union of Forces for Change (UFC), won 33,94%. The remaining votes were shared between minor candidates contesting the vote. It is estimated that about two-million votes were cast in total.
Initially, the elections proved to be generally peaceful, with no reports of violence. However, once preliminary results were released by the country's electoral commission, which indicated a comprehensive Gnassingbe victory, protests broke out, specifically from supporters of opposition party, the UFC, which, under Fabre, has accused the ruling party of rigging the elections and has vowed to protest every day until they cede power. Fabre has since said that he would only stop protesting when the police had exhausted their stock of tear gas or had killed him.
Subsequently, Togolese police have taken measures to prevent such demonstrations. Four days after the Presidential election results were announced, police fired tear gas at a 1 000-strong group of opposition supporters, who had gathered in the country's capital Lomé to protest the result. The government had declared the protest illegal prior to the incident.
Further, Fabre claims that security forces pushed their way into the UFC party offices, where party staff were compiling election results and other evidence of electoral fraud behaviour, and ransacked and destroyed any evidence there might have been. The UFC was hoping to present the evidence in an appeal to the constitutional court. In addition to the raids, an opposition spokesperson said that 12 party supporters were arrested.
African, European and Togolese election observers, despite raising concerns about procedural flaws and the buying off of voters by the RPT, have not questioned the outright result and claim that the process was generally credible.
Togo is the latest country to experience postelectoral instability in a region that has been rocked by a string of disputed elections. Besides countries, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in which the credibility of electoral processes has been questioned, Togo has become the latest country in which the result has been disputed. Further, electoral delays in the Côte d'Ivoire have further added to the instability of the West African region.
Over the past decade, there has been a growing democratic commitment to staging elections on the African continent. The latest developments in the region, however, suggest that a disturbing new trend is developing, in which the democratic process is being neglected, allowing transitions of power to be determined by coups, election rigging and other forms of illegal power grabs.
With countries, such as Guinea and the Central African Republic scheduled for elections in mid-2010, regional stability will be an important factor in determining the success of staging a democratic election. Most countries in the region have very immature and, in some cases, dysfunctional democracies, which points to the possibilities of the political spillover effect on the region.
With the UFC garnering little support for it's appeal against the election result domestically and from the international community, the success of it's appeal is highly unlikely. Gnassingbe will therefore maintain his Presidency, a position he has held since the death of his father in 2005.
If he is to garner the trust of the Togolese people, Gnassingbe will have to alter public perception that his position is merely the product of a "monarchy". The most effective way to enshrine confidence in his regime is to apply socioeconomic policies that will uplift the Togolese people. Further, Gnassingbe needs to create and reinforce a democratic political culture to channel public grievances, as well as instil a transparent electoral process, which will provide incoming governments with a heightened sense of credibility and legitimacy.
Gnassingbe's government is, therefore, faced with the challenges of easing political tensions through the development of democratic channels to accommodate disagreement and dissent. Further, the Togolese government will need to stimulate economic growth to overcome the effects of the financial economic crisis, which has hit Togo's export market, mainly based on agricultural goods, particularly hard. These are some of the immediate challenges facing the incumbent regime. In the long run, however, Gnassingbe should focus on the strengthening of the country's democratic structures to avoid the electoral violence that has come to characterise the country's political history.
Associated Press. Dictator's son winner of Togo election. (March 6, 2010).
Business Day. Togo police fire tear gas at poll protesters. (March 10, 2010).
France 24. Government bans protest amid claims of election fraud. (March 9, 2010).
African Elections Database. Elections in Togo. (March 3, 2010).
France 24. Togolese Presidential election postponed. (February 12, 2010).
US Department of State. Background note: Togo. (February 15, 2010).
Sapa. Togo's polls big test for legitimacy: President. (February 16, 2010).
UNNews. Secretary-General calls for calm in postelection Togo. (March 7, 2010).
Voanews. Official says Ecowas is pleased with Togo's election. (March 7, 2010).
The Telegraph. Togo President ‘wins re-election'. (March 7, 2010).
News24. Togo opposition attacked. (March 10, 2010).
Africa Associated Press. Togo vote a setback for African democracy. (March 10, 2010).
Polity. Togo voting calm; fears of violence, fraud persist. (March 4, 2010).
The New York Times. Togo police seal off opposition headquarters. (March 8, 2010).