“In light of all the centralised results based on the tallies obtained, the candidate of the Union for the Republic (UNIR), Mr Gnassingbé Essozimna Faure, is provisionally declared president-elect of the Togolese republic,” said Tchambakou Ayassor, the president of the National Independent Electoral Commission, after having announced results for the country’s 46 constituencies.
Faure Gnassingbé secured more than 72% of the vote in the first round of the presidential vote, 14% more than for the 2015 election, with turnout at more than 76%, compared to 61% in 2015. Togo’s electoral commission declared presidential election results within 24 hours after the ballot stations were closed.
Opposition leader and former prime minister Agbéyomé Kodjo won around 18% of the ballots and Jean-Pierre Fabre, leader of the opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, came in third with just over 5%, according to the electoral commission. The election results have been shared with Togo’s Constitutional Court which has six days to formally declare definitive results.
“We see that Faure Gnassingbé has had a big breakthrough in areas that in days gone by were difficult, and in other areas it was a true plebiscite,” said Gilbert Bawara, the minister of civil service and Gnassingbé supporter.
The announced results had already been contested with civil society denouncing ballot box stuffing and the reversal of results. Opposition leader Kodjo pointed to “much fraud” even before the electoral commission announced provisional results. And the opposition leader told a press conference in Lomé that he was undoubtedly the genuine winner.
“Across the nation voters have largely voted for me,” said Kodjo. “With regards to the results we’ve compiled by way of the tallies in our possession, we have won this presidential election of 22 February 2020 in the first round, with a result oscillating between 57% and 61%. At this very minute, I’m president of the republic democratically elected and I commit myself to form an inclusive government in the coming days,” he added.
Kodjo also said he “congratulates Faure Gnassingbé on becoming the first living former president of the republic in history”. Togo was previously ruled by Gnassingbé Eyadema, Faure’s father, who stayed in power for 38 years until last breath. The opposition leader invited the president-elect to transfer power in the spirit of “renewed patriotic fervour” and in a peaceful manner.
Kodjo also called on the international community to “support the Togolese people in their fight for a calm and peaceful change in power”, he encouraged the “defence and security forces to maintain their republican neutrality and not give in to being exploited”. He also said the incumbent “must take account of the gravity of the situation and take his place in history by accepting his defeat”.