Lome: Togo`s ruling party has won 62 of 91 seats in parliamentary elections, provisional results showed, allowing the ruling family to maintain its decades-long grip on power.
The west African nation`s constitutional court must verify the results for them to become final. The closest opposition party was the Let`s Save Togo coalition with 19 seats, the results broadcast on state television by the electoral commission showed yesterday.
Let`s Save Togo has alleged irregularities in connection with the vote, though observers from the African Union and West African bloc ECOWAS have said that the elections were held in acceptable conditions.
The opposition coalition has signalled it would protest if
its concerns were not addressed.
The electoral commission "vowed from the beginning of the process to organise a transparent and credible electoral process in a peaceful climate, and we are delighted to have in general succeeded at this," electoral commission president Angele Dola Aguigah said.
The polls were the latest step in the impoverished country`s transition to democracy after Gnassingbe Eyadema`s rule from 1967 to his death in 2005, when the military installed his son, Faure Gnassingbe, as president.
Gnassingbe`s party, formerly the RPT and now UNIR, won 50 of 81 seats in the last legislative elections in 2007.
It performed particularly well in the north, its traditional stronghold. Let`s Save Togo is stronger in the south and won seven of 10 seats in the capital Lome.
The long-delayed polls came after months of protests in the West African nation, with the opposition seeking sweeping electoral reforms.
Many of the protests were dispersed by security forces firing tear gas, while some 35 people, mostly opposition members, were detained in the run-up to the vote in connection with suspicious fires at two major markets.
Thirteen opposition members held over the fires have since been released, including five candidates in Thursday`s polls.
The most prominent Let`s Save Togo candidate was Jean Pierre Fabre, the longtime opposition leader who finished second to Gnassingbe in 2010 presidential elections.