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Togo

French Togoland became Togo in 1960. A new constitution in 1961 established an executive president, elected for 7 years Sylvanus Olympio became Togo's first elected president.

Olympio dissolved opposition parties in January 1962 The reign of Olympio was marked by the terror of his militia and Many opposition members were jailed or fled to avoid arrest. In 1963 Olympio was overthrown and killed in a coup d'état. Politician Nicolas Grunitzky returned from exile to head a provisional government with the title of prime minister. A new constitution was adopted which reinstated a multi-party system, and elected Grunitzky as president.

In 1967 a bloodless coup led by Lt. Col. Étienne and Kléber Dadjo ousted Grunitzky. Political parties were banned, and all constitutional processes were suspended. Dadjo became the chairman of the "committee of national reconciliation", which ruled the country until April 14, when Eyadéma assumed the presidency. In late 1969, a single national political party, the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), was created, and President Eyadéma was elected party president on November 29, 1969.

Eyadéma's rule

In 1979 Eyadéma declared a third republic and a transition to greater civilian rule with a mixed civilian and military cabinet. He garnered 99.97% of the vote in uncontested presidential elections held in late 1979 and early 1980. A new constitution also provided for a national assembly to serve primarily as a consultative body. Eyadéma was reelected to a third consecutive 7-year term in December 1986 with 99.5% of the vote in an uncontested election. On 23 September 1986, a group of some 70 armed Togolese dissidents crossed into Lomé from Ghana in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Eyadéma government.

The Opposition

In 1989 and 1990, Togo, like many other countries, was affected by a global move towards democratic government. In 1991 the government began negotiations with newly formed opposition groups After a general strike and further demonstrations, the government and opposition signed an agreement to hold a "national forum" on 12 June 1991.

Although subjected to severe harassment from the government, the forum drafted an interim constitution calling for a 1-year transitional regime tasked with organizing free elections for a new government. The conference selected Joseph Kokou Koffigoh as transitional prime minister but kept President Eyadéma as chief of state for the transition, although with limited powers.

A test of wills between the president and his opponents followed over the next 3 years during which President Eyadéma gradually gained the upper hand. Frequent political paralysis and intermittent violence marked this period. The army attacked the prime minister's office on 3 December and captured the prime minister. Koffigoh then formed a second transition government in January 1992.

Powerless legislature and political violence

The democratic process was set back in October 1991, when elements of the army held the interim legislature hostage for 24 hours. In retaliation, opposition political parties and labor unions declared a general strike intended to force President Eyadéma to agree to satisfactory conditions for elections.

In January 1993, President Eyadéma declared the transition at an end and reappointed Koffigoh as prime minister under Eyadéma's authority. This set off public demonstrations.On 25 March 1993, armed Togolese dissident commandos based in Ghana attacked Lomé's main military camp and tried unsuccessfully to kill President Eyadéma. They inflicted significant casualties, however, which set off lethal reprisals by the military.

Negotiating with the Opposition

Under substantial domestic and foreign pressure and the presidential faction entered negotiations with the opposition in early 1993. This led to the 11 July Ouagadougou agreement setting forth conditions for upcoming presidential and legislative elections. President Eyadéma won the elections by a 96.42% vote against token opposition. About 36% of the voters went to the polls.

In the June 1998 presidential election, the government prevented citizens from effectively exercising the right to vote. The Interior Ministry declared Eyadéma the winner with 52% of the vote in the 1998 election; however, serious irregularities in the government's conduct of the election strongly favored the incumbent. The government and the state remained highly centralized.

National Assembly elections

The second multi-party legislative elections of Eyadéma's 33-year rule were held on 21 March 1999. The opposition boycotted the election, in which the ruling party won 79 of the 81 seats in the National Assembly.

In June 1999, the RPT and opposition parties met in Paris, in the presence of facilitators to agree on security measures for formal negotiations in Lomé. In July 1999, the government and the opposition began discussions, and on 29 July 1999, all sides signed an accord called the "Lomé Framework Agreement", which included a pledge by President Eyadéma that he would respect the constitution and not seek another term as president after his current one expires in 2003. In addition, the accord addressed the rights and duties of political parties and the media, the safe return of refugees, and the security of all citizens.

The President also agreed to dissolve the National Assembly in March and hold new legislative elections, which would be supervised by an independent national election commission and which would use the single-ballot method to protect against some of the abuses of past elections. However, the March 2000 date passed without presidential action, and new legislative elections were ultimately rescheduled for October 2001.

In May 2002 the government scrapped CENI, blaming the opposition for its inability to function. Held in October, as a result of the opposition’s boycott the government party won more than two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly.In December 2002, Eyadéma's government used this rubber-stamp parliament to amend Togo’s constitution, allowing President Eyadéma to run for an “unlimited” number of terms. The presidential election was held 1 June. President Eyadéma was re-elected with 57% of the votes, amid allegations of widespread vote rigging.

Death of Eyadéma and Gnassingbé's rise

President Eyadéma died on 5 February 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbé, the country's former minister of public works, mines, and telecommunications, was named President by Togo's military following the announcement of his father's death.

Under international pressure however, Gnassingbé was forced to step down shortly after accepting the nomination to run for elections in April.Deputy Speaker Bonfoh Abbass was appointed interim president until the inauguration of the 24 April election winner. As to official results, the winner of the election was Gnassingbé who garnered 60% of the vote. Opposition leader Emmanuel Bob-Akitani however disputed the election and declared himself to be the winner with 70% of the vote. On 3 May 2005, Gnassingbé was sworn in and vowed to concentrate on "the promotion of development, the common good, peace and national unity".

In August 2006 President Gnassingbe and members of the opposition signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA), bringing an end to the political crisis trigged by Eyadema's death The GPA provided for a transitional unity government whose primary purpose would be to prepare for benchmark legislative elections.

CAR opposition party leader and human rights lawyer Yawovi Agboyibo was appointed Prime Minister of the transitional government. Parliamentary elections took place on October 14, 2007. Mr Olympio, who returned from exile to campaign, took part for the first time in 17 years. The ruling party, Rally of the Togolese People(RPT), won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the election which international observers declared the poll "largely" free and fair.

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