Togo faces tension as President signs country's revised constitution into law


(MENAFN) The political landscape in Togo faces heightened tension as President Faure Gnassingbe signs the country's revised constitution into law, a move met with staunch opposition from various quarters. Despite protests and objections from opposition parties, the amended legislation, which was passed by lawmakers in March, has now been enacted.

The revised constitution, which abolishes presidential elections and grants parliament the authority to select the president, has sparked widespread discontent and demonstrations across the nation. Among its key provisions is an extension of the presidential term from five to six years, a move that critics argue serves to consolidate President Gnassingbe's grip on power.

Opposition coalitions, including the National Alliance for Change (ANC) party, have strongly denounced the constitutional reforms, viewing them as a means to perpetuate Gnassingbe's rule. Since assuming office in 2005 following his father's lengthy tenure, Gnassingbe has faced persistent criticism over alleged attempts to entrench his presidency.

In response to the enactment of the new constitution, President Gnassingbe's office has framed it as a milestone in Togo's democratic evolution, citing it as a step towards institutional advancement. However, dissenting voices, including civil society organizations, have vowed to continue their resistance, calling for the restoration of the previous constitution.

David Dosseh, a spokesperson for a coalition of around 20 Togolese civil society groups, has emphasized the necessity of elections in ensuring a democratic transition and has vowed to persist in their opposition to the revised constitution. Despite government restrictions on protests, dissenting voices remain resolute in their demand for electoral reform and a return to democratic norms.

The enactment of the revised constitution comes against the backdrop of recent legislative elections, which saw the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party secure a majority of parliament seats, further exacerbating political tensions in the country. As Togo navigates through this period of uncertainty, the fate of its democratic institutions hangs in the balance amidst ongoing resistance and opposition to the government's actions.

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