Togo’s election officials on Sunday added up results from a presidential vote that had the lowest turnout of any election conducted in the past decade. President Faure Gnassingbe is seeking a third term against four opposition challengers. Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 when he succeeded his father, who died after 38 years in office. The family has ruled this West African nation for nearly 50 years. The turnout on Saturday was between 53 and 55 percent of the 3.5 million people registered to vote, Taffa Tabiou, head of the election commission, said Sunday. That turnout is lower than presidential contests in 2005 and 2010 and legislative elections in 2007 and 2013.
The commission has six days to announce the official results but Interior Minister Gilbert Bawara said at a press conference Sunday he hoped the results would be announced before midnight. The government sent a plane to the northern town of Niamtougou to retrieve ballots from polling stations in the country’s north and bring them to Lome, the capital, Bawara said.
Opposition supporters gathered outside several polling stations, when counting began Saturday evening in Lome, eager to observe the process and ensure no rigging took place.
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