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Togo Parliament Approves Reforms Termed As Constitutional Coup By Opposition

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Togo’s lawmakers adopted amendments to the constitution on Friday that address term limits for presidents and the manner in which they are chosen. Civil society organizations and opposition politicians have criticized these revisions as a constitutional coup.

In March, the parliament voted to approve the revisions, but a strong backlash forced the postponement of legislative elections, additional consultations, and a second parliamentary vote.

Opponents of the measures worry that they would permit President Faure Gnassingbe’s 19-year rule and his family’s hold on power to be extended. In 1967, a coup led by his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, took control of the nation located on the coast of West Africa.

In the subsequent vote, legislators overwhelmingly accepted the revised charter, which eliminates the need for universal suffrage, but by members of parliament.

In recent times, a number of African nations, such as the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Congo Republic, Ivory Coast, and Guinea, have enacted constitutional and other legal modifications that permit their presidents to serve longer terms. In the last three years, there have also been eight military takeovers in the West and Central African region.

Just as they were under his father’s lengthy rule, Gnassingbe’s administration has often used violent police crackdowns on political demonstrations. In a landslide victory that the opposition contested in 2020, Faure Gnassingbe was last reelected.

A new position with significant management control over government matters is the president of the council of ministers, which is established by the new constitution.

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