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Togo president's party wins majority in parliament: provisional results

Gnassingbe's Union for the Republic (UNIR) won 59 of the 91 seats in the National Assembly in the December 20 legislative polls, boycotted by the main opposition coalition, the provisional results said
Gnassingbe's Union for the Republic (UNIR) won 59 of the 91 seats in the National Assembly in the December 20 legislative polls, boycotted by the main opposition coalition, the provisional results said AFP/File
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Lome (AFP)

Togo President Faure Gnassingbe's party won most seats in parliamentary elections, according to provisional results on Monday, in polls overshadowed by pre-ballot clashes and an opposition boycott.

But the party will need support from other legislators to secure a fourth-fifths majority for constitutional change giving Gnassingbe the chance of staying in power beyond 2020.

His Union for the Republic (UNIR) won 59 of the 91 seats in the National Assembly in the December 20 legislative polls, the provisional results said.

A 14-party opposition coalition refused to take part.

The election went ahead after a year of political upheaval which saw demonstrators demanding Gnassingbe step down.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 after succeeding his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.

Earlier this month, at least four people were killed when opposition supporters and security forces clashed in the capital Lome and several other cities. The opposition put the figure at six dead.

UNIR previously held 62 seats and had hoped to secure 73, the threshold for passing laws unchallenged, including changes to the constitution paving the way for Gnassingbe to run for office in 2020 and 2025.

The ruling party's 59 seats was thus below its target but it will be supported by its main ally, the Union of Change Forces (UFC) of former opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio, who has six MPs. Other independent MPs can also lend support.

A total of 850 candidates for 12 political parties, plus independents, took part in the election.

The official turnout was about 60 percent of registered voters.

Before the vote, opposition parties had called for an overhaul of the electoral commission, more transparency and constitutional reforms to limit the number of presidential terms.

Observers from the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) welcomed the provisional results.

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