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Opposition Rejects Results of Togo Election

Togo's main opposition party is rejecting results announced by the electoral commission that indicate the country's president has won re-election.  

The opposition Union of Forces for Change Party is rejecting results that indicate President Faure Gnassingbe won more than 60 percent of Thursday's ballots, securing his re-election with more than 1.2 million votes.

Results announced late Saturday by Togo's electoral commission indicate opposition candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre received nearly 700,000 votes, or just over a third of the ballots.  Former prime minister Yawovi Agboyibo finished third with less than three percent of the vote.

The opposition says it will challenge those results when they are transmitted to Togo's constitutional court within the next week.

Kofi Yamgnane is the spokesman for the Republican Front for Change, which backs Fabre.  He told French radio that Togolese opposition leaders will contest the results given by the Independent National Electoral Commission and denounce what they call electoral fraud.

Before the announcement of final poll results, Fabre led several-hundred opposition demonstrators into the capital's main square.  Riot police broke up that protest with tear-gas and set up barricades at strategic positions.  Witnesses say Lome was quieter than usual late Saturday.

Fabre says there were voting irregularities, including stuffed ballot boxes.  An opposition member of the electoral commission resigned Saturday to protest what he called fraud.

Observers from the Economic Community of West African States say they believe the vote was fair, but they are expressing concern about the reliability of totals reported to the electoral commission after a breakdown in the satellite system that was to transmit returns from polling stations.

Regional military observers and several-thousand special Togolese forces were deployed to maintain calm during this vote.  According to U.N. estimates, post-electoral violence in 2005 killed more than 400 people and sent thousands of refugees into Ghana and Benin.

President Gnassingbe won that 2005 vote following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for more than 38 years.   

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