Togo President Gnassingbe Re-Elected In Landslide Victory, Extending 53-Year Family Rule

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Faure Gnassingbe
Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has been re-elected for a fourth term, extending his 15-year rule and a family dynasty that began in a 1967 coup. Togo’s President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. Headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Togo President Faure Gnassingbe extended his 15-year rule in the country after winning re-election with a majority of the votes. 

On Feb. 24, preliminary results showed that Gnassingbe won 72 percent of the vote, continuing the family legacy that has seen a Gnassingbe leading Togo for 53 years, according to Reuters.

His father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, ruled the country from 1967 until his death in 2015, at which point Faure took over and has been president ever since.

Both father and son have ruled with an iron fist. Eyadema came to power through a military coup in 1967 and Faure has not been afraid to use law enforcement and the army to keep him in power.

When he came to power in 2005 after his father’s death, mass protests were met with a violent police crackdown that killed at least 500 people.

In recent years, Togo has faced major protests demanding an end to the Gnassingbe family’s five-decade rule, AlJazeera reports.

The president responded by changing the law to limit presidents to two five-year terms. However, the law doesn’t apply to him, so Gnassingbe could stay in power until 2030, according to Reuters.

The most popular opposition candidate, former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo, got 18 percent of the vote — at least, that’s what was reported. In 2015, Gnassingbe said he won 58 percent of the vote.

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Togo is the 10th poorest country in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Addressing poverty and unemployment is expected to be a priority for Gnassingbe in his next term as president.

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