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Togo Adopts New Constitution: Parliament to Elect President

Togolese lawmakers have approved a new constitution, transitioning the country from a presidential to a parliamentary system. Under the new arrangement, parliament will have the authority to elect the president, marking a significant shift in the political landscape of the small West African nation.

The president will now be elected “without debate” by lawmakers for a single six-year term, as outlined in the new text, rather than through public elections. This constitutional amendment was proposed by a group of lawmakers, predominantly from the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, and was endorsed with an overwhelming majority of 89 votes in favor, one against, and one abstention.

Previously, the president could serve a maximum of two five-year terms. However, with the adoption of the new constitution, the presidency will be limited to a single term, with no opportunity for reelection.

In addition to the changes in the presidential election process, the new constitution introduces the position of “president of the council of ministers.” This individual will wield full authority and power to manage government affairs and will be accountable accordingly. The president of the council of ministers, selected from the leader of the majority coalition of parties following legislative elections, will serve a six-year term.

Tchitchao Tchalim, chairman of the national assembly’s committee on constitutional laws, legislation, and general administration, emphasized that these amendments effectively reduce the powers of the head of state in favor of the president of the council of ministers. This shift entails the latter assuming responsibilities such as representing the Togolese Republic abroad and overseeing the country’s day-to-day management.

The adoption of the new constitution heralds Togo’s transition to its fifth republic, marking a significant milestone in its political evolution since the last major constitutional revision in 1992.

These developments come ahead of the upcoming legislative elections scheduled for April 20, coinciding with regional elections, in which the opposition has announced its participation. Notably, in 2019, constitutional amendments were made to limit presidential terms to two, although this did not apply retrospectively, allowing President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, to remain eligible for future elections. Gnassingbe succeeded his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who seized power in a coup over 50 years ago.

Gh Blinks

Gh Blinks is a young industrious, motivated, passionate, highly productive, and creative blogger and writer with strong communication and problem-solving skills. He has a couple of awards and honors to his credit.

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