On 25 July, voters went to the polls in the long-delayed legislative elections which - as expected – brought victory for the UNIR ruling party, allowing it to even increase its majority with more than 2/3 of the seats. The main opposition Party has rejected the vote outcome, blaming massive vote rigging, whereas the African Union and ECOWAS considered the vote as acceptable. Elections were delayed from October 2012 because of mass protests over changes to the electoral code said to benefit the ruling party of the Gnassingbe family, which has been in power for over 40 years. After a late change of heart, two opposition parties - the Rainbow Coalition and the Let’s Save Togo Movement – decided to challenge President Gnassingbe’s Unite party, instead of boycotting the elections.

Impact on country risk

Even though the government was confronted with violent demonstrations over electoral reforms, failure to provide jobs and a lacking educational system, the incumbent president has secured another large majority. The ruling party can easily outspend the opposition, while  the  Electoral  Commission  and  key  electoral  processes  are  still  dominated  by  the government. Moreover, security forces are composed of the president’s ethnic group, making it easy to endure months of protests while rivals were weakened by the jailing of over thirty key figures without evidence. Despite these elements, the opposition decided not to boycott the elections. After the 2010 presidential elections, deadly street protests broke out after complaints of  vote rigging. This scenario might repeat itself given similar accusations with the risk of violent clashes and possible transport disruption. ONDD classifies Togo in category 7/7 for middle-long term political risk, mainly due to the vulnerable economy with deficient balances caused by a tiny export base and its dependence on donor aid that proves to be very volatile given the regime’s internationally criticized politics.

Analyst: Louise Van Cauwenbergh, l.vancauwenbergh@credendogroup.com