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Togolese president swears oath after election win



President Faure Gnassingbe

Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe on Monday swore the oath of allegiance for a third term of office after his recent election victory.

The 48-year-old leader made the pledge to “solemnly respect and defend the constitution” in a 30-minute ceremony in the capital, Lome, his right hand placed on a copy of the country’s statutes.

Gnassingbe won the April 25 elections in the tiny West African nation, securing 58.77 percent of the vote against 35.19 percent for his nearest rival, opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre.

The victory extended the Gnassingbe family’s 48-year rule over Togo, a former German-and French-administered colony it has controlled since 1967.

The oath, taken just a stone’s throw from the presidential palace, was witnessed by members of the Constitutional Court and about 500 guests, most of them ministers, lawmakers and senior members of Gnassingbe’s ruling Union for the Republic (Unir) party.

Also present at the event, broadcast live by state media, were foreign ambassadors. The only opposition candidate in attendance was Komandega Taama, who came fourth with 1.03 percent of the vote.

A crowd of ruling party supporters, most of them wearing t-shirts and clothes with Gnassingbe’s face printed on them, gathered outside the hall to follow the ceremony on giant screens.

Gnassingbe received a traditional 21-gun salute before personal congratulations, including from the head of the Constitutional Court, Aboudou Assouma.

“You have elegantly triumphed over your adversaries in a hard and demanding contest,” he said.

“Your triumph is the fruit of your dynamism and certainly your perseverance in determining your commitment and convictions.”

Fabre’s Combat for Political Change (CAP 2015) — a coalition of five opposition parties, has denounced the election as “fraudulent”.

The official results were ratified by the Constitutional Court on Sunday.

CAP 2015 described the provisional results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission last Tuesday as a “crime against national sovereignty”.

It did not challenge the results in Togo’s courts, saying it did not believe the Constitutional Court would take any action.

International monitors called the elections free and fair.

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