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Eyadema’s son declared winner of Togolese election ... Obasanjo welcomes result

Posted by By EMMA EMEOZOR,with Agency Report and LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2005/04/28 | Views: 449 |

Eyadema’s son declared winner of Togolese election ... Obasanjo welcomes result


Faure Gnassingbe, son of the late President of Togo Gnassingbe Eyadema, was Tuesday formally declared winner of the presidential election held on Sunday. This is coming 24 hours after African Union Chairman and Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, held a parley with Gnassingbe and opposition candidate, Emmanuel Akitani Bob in Abuja.

Faure Gnassingbe, son of the late President of Togo Gnassingbe Eyadema, was Tuesday formally declared winner of the presidential election held on Sunday. This is coming 24 hours after African Union Chairman and Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, held a parley with Gnassingbe and opposition candidate, Emmanuel Akitani Bob in Abuja.

Declaring result of the election, the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Kissem Tchangai-Walla, said Gnassingbe, candidate of Togo Peoples Rally (RPT), won with over 60 per cent of total votes cast. Opposition candidate, Emmanuel Akitani-Bob came second, having garnered 38 per cent of the votes, while Harry Olympio came a distant third.
"In view of these results... the candidate of the RPT has been provisionally elected," the electoral chief said.

However, she said the results did not include areas where ballot boxes were destroyed. The constitutional court, which would announce the final results, would decide these issues, she said.
It would be recalled that clashes between opposition supporters and security forces had escalated in Lome, after polls ended Sunday. This had prompted President Obasanjo to convene the meeting in Abuja at the instance of United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

On the meeting, President Obasanjo’s spokeswoman, Mrs. Remi Oyo, said the Nigerian president did not discuss the issue of whether the election was fair. The opposition’s bone of contention was that the election was fixed in favour of Gnassingbe.

"The question of the nature of the election was not discussed. I mean that is not what was on the front burner. What is on the front burner is that the Togolese people, the major actors in the crisis, have agreed to chart a new course for their country," she said.

The two rivals also agreed in the Abuja meeting to amend the country’s constitution to satisfy fundamental human rights and ensure popular participation in politics.
Prior to the Abuja meeting, Gnassingbe’s campaign director, Komi Klassou, was quoted as saying: "The president said his victory would be a victory for the Togolese people. You can be sure that he will extend his hand to all citizens so that together we can build a stable Togo."
On Tuesday, Lome was reported tense, but the streets were largely deserted as people waited to see what would happen.

The election was the first in four decades. Togo tumbled into crisis, February 5 when Eyadema died, ending a reign that made him Africa's longest-serving leader. The army then named Gnassingbe, as president in what many saw as a military coup. International pressure forced Gnassingbe to step down and promised elections amid opposition’s protests that degenerated to bloody violence.
Like his father, Gnassingbe is a man of very few words. But he does have the fierce loyalty of the country's well-organized and well-equipped military. Born in 1966 to a mother who hails from Atakpame in central Togo, he is one of Eyadema's many sons and seen as the most levelheaded. He studied at France's Sorbonne University and has an MBA from the George Washington University in the United States.

According to Reuter’s news agency, he was his father's financial adviser, running the family's economic interests, particularly overseas. He is a relative newcomer to politics, entering the political fray in June 2002, when he won a seat in parliamentary elections as a candidate of the ruling Togo People's Rally (RPT) in Blitta constituency in central Togo. Later, he was appointed by his father as minister for telecommunications, mines and equipment, a post he held until Eyadema's death in February. While his son was minister, Eyadema lowered the eligibility age for presidential candidates from 40 to 35 years when the ruling RPT-dominated parliament unilaterally amended the Togo constitution in December 2002.
Meanwhile, President Olusegun Obasanjo Tuesday welcomed the result of Togo’s presidential election, but quickly reminded the winner and son of former president, Faure Gnassingbe of the decisions reached at the Abuja peace meeting with the opposition.

Mrs. Oyo, who briefed State House correspondents on the issue in Abuja, said the president expressed the hope that the understanding that prevailed at the Abuja meeting between Gnassingbe and his main opponent would be sustained.

She explained that the objective of Monday’s peace meeting which President Obasanjo had brokered between the main rival political groups in Togo was to find a political solution to the crisis in Togo and ensure the establishment of a government of national unity as a way of averting serious crisis.

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