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Togo amps up campaigns as Presidential elections approach

22nd April 2015 With only 3 days left to its Presidential elections, campaigns are heating up in Togo. The country’s main presidential contenders hit the campaign trail for the elections scheduled on April 25.

The vote was originally scheduled for April 15 but was delayed by 10 days after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for the electoral lists to be revised.

The updated list has just over 3.5 million potential voters, a little over 50% of Togo’s estimated population of 6 million.

Incumbent Faure Gnassingbe kicked off his campaign in the town of Tado, 200 kilometers from the capital,Lome.

Gnassingbe was installed as president with army support when his father died in 2005. He later stepped down but won an election months later and was re-elected for a second term in 2010.

Running on the ticket of the Union for the Republic party (UNIR), Gnassingbe addressed his supporters and sought to reassure them that the electoral process will be credible. He said

“All I want is for the elections to take place without violence, for the results to be credible and legitimate, and the winner should be recognised on a national and international level. But some of you are wondering, he is saying all that but what if he’s the one who is defeated? Is he going to make the call? And I say yes, I will call the winner to congratulate them,”

Gnassingbe’s main challenger Jean Pierre Fabre of Combat for Change in 2015 (CAP) party kicked off his campaign in Sanguera, a town on the outskirts of Lome.

CAP party members appealed to supporters to vote in great numbers for change with the party’s spokesperson Robert Olympio saying

“We want everyone to vote for our candidate Jean Pierre Fabre on April 25th, it will be a double celebration for us because April 27th is also our independence day, and his victory will represent a second rebirth for the whole of Togo,”

The world is watching the elections very closely. Political analyst Primus Guenou says

“You get the sense that the team behind the ruling party campaign is more experienced, a well oiled machine. But our friends from the opposition have a lot to learn and despite what they say, I feel that they are unprepared. They only take things seriously at the last minute, and it shows in their campaign. For more than three years, they have called for reforms, which they they didn’t get and during that time they forgot to prepare themselves,”

Gnassingbe faces four rivals in the vote and official campaigns are scheduled to end tomorrow, April 23rd.

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