Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo

Togo adopts Parliamentary system and will no longer elect a President

Togolese citizens will no longer directly elect their president following the adoption of a new constitution by lawmakers late Monday (Mar. 25). The constitutional changes, introduced by members of the ruling party, transition the West African nation from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

The opposition, which boycotted the last legislative elections in 2018 and has recently criticized “irregularities” in the electoral census, is sparsely represented in the national assembly.

Under the new constitution, lawmakers will elect the president of the republic for a single six-year term. Additionally, the position of “president of the council of ministers” has been created, with the holder having “full authority and power to manage the affairs of the government.” The president of the council of ministers will either be “the leader of the party which secures the majority during the legislative elections” or the leader of the winning coalition of parties, serving a six-year term.

Members of parliament will be elected through universal suffrage, directly and secretly, for a renewable term of six years.

The new constitution was partly approved by lawmakers whose mandate was set to expire late last year. It remains unclear when the changes will take effect.

The next parliamentary election is scheduled for April 20th, to be held concurrently with regional elections. Approximately 4.2 million Togolese are registered to vote.

Togo’s recent history has been largely shaped by the Gnassingbe family, which has held power since 1967.

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