Togo’s President Set To Switch Jobs To Stay In Power In New Constitution

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Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe is set to become president of the council of ministers, a position introduced by the new constitution, which will allow him to extend his 19-year-old rule, a minister said late on Monday.

The new charter adopted in March introduced a parliamentary system of government and created the role of the president of the council of ministers who will have extensive authority to manage the coastal West African nation’s government affairs.

Civil service minister Gilbert Bawara said on television that Gnassingbe has been designated by the UNIR ruling party as their candidate for the position of the president of the council.

Earlier this month, Gnassingbe’s UNIR party won a majority of seats in a disputed legislative election.

“The appointment of the president of the council is practically an automatic process because the Constitution states that it’s the president of the majority political party or coalition in the national assembly who is appointed,” Bawara said.

Togo has seen years of resistance to the Gnassingbe family’s rule. The president was first elected in 2005 to succeed his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who took office in a coup in 1967.

In 2019, a constitutional reform paved the way for Gnassingbe to potentially rule until 2030.

He won a disputed election in 2020 and the country was expected to hold a presidential election next year which if he had won, would have been his final term in office.

If elected to the new powerful role of president of the council of ministers, there are no term limits.

Meanwhile, according to the new constitution, the largely ceremonial president is elected for a four-year term renewable once.