President Gnassingbé of Togo plotting tenure extension — Opposition parties allege


LOME – The opposition in Togo has denounced a proposed new constitution as a power grab, intended to extend the reign of President Faure Gnassingbé.

The reforms would see the West African country move from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

The BBC reported that the opposition, however, said they are a ruse to keep Gnassingbé – already in his fourth term- in power.

The president’s supporters said the changes would reduce the powers of the Head of State by transforming the presidency into a ceremonial role.

Human Rights Minister Yawa Djigbodi Tségan said they would “improve democracy in the country”.

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But the opposition said the reforms would allow him to remain president until 2031 and then be appointed to the new position of “President of the Council of Ministers” – in effect Primev  Minister-continuing his family’s 57-year rule.

President Gnassingbé came to power in 2005 after the death of his father, who had been president since 1967.

The constitutional changes were approved by lawmakers last month but in the face of mounting public anger, Gnassingbé paused the reforms and said they would be subject to further consultations.

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