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Togo Opposition, Ruling Party Both Declare Victory in Presidential Vote

Togo's main opposition candidate and its ruling-party are both declaring victory in Thursday's presidential election. Vote counting continues.

Opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre says Thursday's vote was full of irregularities, but he remains confident of victory.

Fabre told reporters in Lome late Friday that according to results complied by his Union of Forces for Change party, they are averaging between 75 and 80 percent of the vote, a total that he says would have been higher without anomalies that he says included stuffing ballot boxes.

President Faure Gnassingbe's government's Web site says the ruling party is leading with more than two-thirds of the vote. It says more than 400,000 votes separate the president from Fabre. The statement says Fabre's party is leading in the capital, Lome, but is losing ground in other parts of the country.

Government spokesman Pascal Bodjona told French radio that the ruling Rally for the Togolese People party and President Gnassingbe have won what he called a "resounding victory." A ruling-party statement called on opposition leaders to regroup so as to preserve the general calm that prevailed during this vote.

The United Nations says more than 400 people were killed in post-election violence in 2005 that also sent thousands of Togolese refugees into Ghana and Benin.

President Gnassingbe is running for re-election after winning that 2005 vote following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for more than 38 years.

Before Thursday's vote, Fabre said he had no confidence in the fairness of the ballot and suspected that President Gnassingbe would manipulate the electoral commission to steal the vote.

The president said an unprecedented deployment of Togolese and regional security forces would help guarantee a fair ballot. Casing his vote, he said it was up to voters to decide if he would be re-elected.