Voters in Togo will cast ballots in a parliamentary election tomorrow that’s been delayed for eight months amid concerns by opposition parties that the poll won’t be transparent and fair. President Faure Gnassingbe’s ruling Rally of the Togolese People will seek to protect its majority against the main opposition Union of Forces for Change, which threatened protests if it believes the results are rigged. The group challenged the outcome of a presidential vote in 2010 and say the West African nation’s electoral commission is dominated by supporters of Gnassingbe. The RPT denies the claim, saying the ballot will be transparent and fair. “Things can degenerate when the results are announced if anyone tries to falsify the results that come from the ballots,” Kuam Kouakouvi, a politics professor at Lome University in the capital, said in an interview on July 23. “Considering the enormous needs of the population, this would be hugely damaging.”
Togo borders Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso on Africa’s west coast. The $3.7 billion economy, which earns foreign currency from exports of cotton, coffee and cocoa, is forecast to expand 5.1 percent this year from 5 percent in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Gnassingbe in 2005 succeeded his father, who had ruled the nation of 6.1 million people since 1967, and was reelected in 2010 amid claims by the opposition of irregularities.