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Africa

Poll officials confirm re-election of President Gnassingbe

Video by Yuka ROYER , Luke SHRAGO

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-07

President Faure Gnassingbe has defeated opposition challenger Jean-Pierre Fabre to retain his post, election officials said Saturday. Opposition supporters were dispersed by police after taking to the streets in protest.

AFP - Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe was re-elected Saturday, winning 60.9 percent of the vote and defeating his opposition rival, Jean-Pierre Fabre, election officials announced.
   
Gnassingbe garnered a total of 1,243,044 votes while Fabre, an economist and candidate of the Union of Forces for Change (UFC) party, won 692,584 votes or 33.94 percent cast.
   
In third position was former prime minister Yawovi Agboyibo, with 2.96 percent of the votes, the Independent National Electoral Commission CENI said.
   
"These results will be transmitted to the constitutional court within eight days. An appeal can be filed," CENI chief Issifou Taffa Tabious said.
   
Turnout in Thursday's peaceful vote was 64.68 percent, he added.
   

Gnassingbe, the 43-year-old son of former leader Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled with an iron hand for 38 years, has been in office since his father's death in 2005 when he was elected in a disputed vote.
   
Ahead of the announcement of the final poll results, riot police took to the streets of Lome and security forces dispersed opposition supporters with teargas.
   
Police in anti-riot gear and gendarmes fanned out across the seaside capital, setting up barricades at strategic points, and the city's usually crowded streets were deserted and businesses closed.
   
The ruling RPT party's headquarters in Lome was very calm after CENI announced the final results.
   
RPT Secretary General Solitoki Esso said: "It is great victory that gives us a lot of satisfaction and wipes off any doubts about the process.
   
"People are satisfied with the party," he stated.
   
There were grim faces at the UFC headquarters, located in the popular Be district, but the atmosphere remained calm.
   
Jean Adikossi, a 27-year-old driver said: "They have given fake results. Everybody in Togo knows that UFC would win the election. In 43 years, what have we seen? It is enough."
   
"They have not won, enough is enough, we shall chase them away," a woman said.
   
In Lome, a bastion of the opposition, the streets were calm after the results.
   
"I do not know what is going to happen. We are all afraid. We do not know how we will wake up tomorrow," Jean-Luc, a motorcycle taxi driver, told AFP.
   
"It is very simple, we shall wake up in the morning with a gendarme as a companion," one of his colleagues quipped.
   
In the afternoon, news of partial results from the CENI had prompted tension in Lome.
   
Fabre and several hundred supporters of his Union of Forces for Change party had protested at the way the results had been compiled.
   
But as they made for Independence Square they were met by the security forces.
   
"We were at the Independence Square, we were blocked. We were doused with teargas," UFC official Eric Dupuy told AFP.
   
Fear of violence, which has marred Togo elections in the past, kept many Lome residents in their homes, and businesses closed early.
   
Some 200 youths gathered in front of UFC headquarters in Be district, drinking and singing.
   
"Let Fabre win or there will be a fire in Lome or otherwise the country will burn," one of them said.
   
Others accosted foreign journalists saying "tell the truth, we no longer want Gnassingbe".
   
The vote was widely seen as a test of whether democracy would find a foothold in this poor country of 6.5 million.
   
Besides Fabre and Gnassingbe, five other candidates took part in the poll,

Date created : 2010-03-07

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