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Togo’s opposition urges protests to prevent president from approving a new constitution

In LOME, Togo, on March 28, (AP): Activists and opposition leaders in Togo are urging protests to halt the president from approving a new constitution. The proposed constitution, passed by lawmakers this week, awaits President Faure Gnassingbe’s final endorsement. It eliminates future presidential elections and could extend Gnassingbe’s rule until 2031 by granting parliament the authority to select the president instead of direct elections. While some legal experts argue that the constitution introduces a one-term limit for future presidents and empowers a figure akin to a prime minister, opposition fears it could serve as a tool for Gnassingbe to prolong his rule. Additionally, the new constitution extends presidential terms from five to six years, with Gnassingbe’s almost 20-year tenure not counting toward this limit since he succeeded his father. The opposition and clergy denounce the legislation as an attempt by Gnassingbe to extend his rule and call on the people to rise up and protest against it. Eric Dupuy, a spokesman for the opposition National Alliance for Change party, vows to thwart the constitutional change, urging the population to reject and oppose it. However, police dispersed a news conference organized by the opposition on Wednesday, ejecting leaders and journalists from the venue.

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