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Faure Gnassingbé
Photo Faure Gnassingbe 2023.jpg
Gnassingbé in 2023
4th President of Togo
Assumed office
4 May 2005
Prime Minister
Preceded by Bonfoh Abass (Acting)
In office
5 February 2005 – 25 February 2005
Prime Minister Koffi Sama
Preceded by Gnassingbé Eyadéma
Succeeded by Bonfoh Abass (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1966-06-06) 6 June 1966 (age 58)
Afagnan, Togo
Political party UNIR (2012–present)
RPT (1990–2012)
Spouse Nana Ama Kufuor
Relations Gnassingbé Eyadéma (father)
Kpatcha (half-brother)
Alma mater Paris Dauphine University
George Washington (MBA)

Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma (French pronunciation: [foʁ ɲasɛ̃ɡbe]; born 6 June 1966) is a Togolese politician who has been the president of Togo since 2005. Before assuming the presidency, he was appointed by his father, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications, serving from 2003 to 2005.

Following President Eyadéma's death in 2005, Gnassingbé was immediately installed as president with support from the army. Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure being placed on Gnassingbé, and he subsequently resigned on 25 February. He then won a controversial presidential election on 24 April 2005, and was sworn in as president. Gnassingbé was re-elected for a second term in 2010.

In the April 2015 presidential election, Gnassingbé won a third term, defeating his main challenger, Jean-Pierre Fabre, by a margin of about 59% to 35%, according to official results. In the February 2020 presidential elections, Gnassingbé won his fourth presidential term in office as the president of Togo. According to the official result, he won with a margin of around 72% of the vote share. This enabled him to defeat his closest challenger, the former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo who had 18%. The legitimacy of elections in Togo is widely disputed.

Background

Born in Afagnan in Lacs Prefecture where his mother gave birth to him at the Hospital of the Brothers of the Order of Saint-Jean-de-Dieu d'Afagnan,Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé is of Kabye descent and is one of Gnassingbé Eyadéma's many children; his mother is Séna Sabine Mensah. Gnassingbé received his secondary education in Lomé before studying in Paris at the Université Paris-Dauphine, where he received a degree in financial business management; he subsequently obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University in the United States. He was elected to the National Assembly of Togo in the October 2002 parliamentary election as a Deputy for Blitta, and in the National Assembly he was coordinator of the commission in charge of privatization. On July 29, 2003, he was appointed as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications, serving in that position until becoming president in February 2005.

Some in the opposition claimed that the amendment of the Constitution in December 2002, lowering the minimum age for the president from 45 years to 35 years, was intended to benefit Gnassingbé. His appointment to the government in July 2003 came after he had already been appearing with his father at official functions and contributed to speculation that he was intended as his father's successor.

Presidency (2005-present)

Faure Gnassingbé 29112006
Faure Gnassingbé in 2006

Eyadéma died suddenly on February 5, 2005. According to the Togolese Constitution, after the president's death, the president of the National Assembly should become acting president. At the time of Eyadéma's death, National Assembly President Fambaré Ouattara Natchaba was out of the country, and Gnassingbé was sworn in as acting president to "ensure stability". Many believe that Natchaba did not want to come back to Togo due to fears of assassination by the Gnassingbé clan. The army wanted him to resign his position and allow Gnassingbé to legally take over. The African Union denounced Gnassingbé's assumption of power as a military coup.

Legitimacy

Helen Clark and Faure Gnassingbe, UNDP
Helen Clark meeting with Togolese president in 2009

A day after his father's death, the National Assembly received clear instructions to dismiss Natchaba and elect Gnassingbé in his place, which would legalize his succession, which took place on 6 February 2005. Gnassingbé's election was unanimously approved by the deputies (98% of them were members of the ruling party) who were present in the National Assembly at the time; the opposition was not represented in the National Assembly due to its boycott of the 2002 parliamentary election. The members of Gnassingbé's party did not want to challenge the army's choice. The parliament also eliminated a constitutional requirement that elections be held within 60 days of the president's death, enabling the younger Gnassingbé to rule until the expiration of his father's term in 2008.

Faure Gnassingbé with Obamas 2014
Barack and Michelle Obama greet Faure Gnassingbé in August 2014.

Under pressure from others in the region, and particularly Nigeria, later in February 2005 Gnassingbé announced that new elections would be held within 60 days, but said that he would remain in office in the meantime. However, on February 21, the National Assembly reversed some of the constitutional changes that it had made so as to allow Gnassingbé to assume power, although it did not instruct him to resign. This was construed as a way of pressuring him to stand down with dignity. To change the constitution during a period of transition was itself an unconstitutional act, but this did not deter Gnassingbé's allies.

Président Faure Gnassingbé PND
President Faure Gnassingbé at the launch of the National Development Plan (PND) in 2019

On February 25, Gnassingbé was nominated by delegates of the ruling party, the Rally for the Togolese People, as the party's presidential candidate. He was also chosen as head of the party. Shortly afterwards, he announced that he would step down as president during the interim period. Bonfoh Abass was appointed by the National Assembly to replace him until the election on April 24, 2005. Bonfoh was considered by some to be a puppet of the military elite and the Gnassingbé family. Gnassingbé competed with the main opposition candidate, Emmanuel Bob-Akitani, a retired engineer of the state-owned mining company and the second most important person in the opposition coalition after Gilchrist Olympio. Olympio could not take part in the election, since the constitution required that any candidate must have lived for at least 12 months in Togo, and Olympio had been in self-imposed exile for fear that he would be murdered by the Eyadema clan like his father.

In the election, Gnassingbé received slightly more than 60% of the votes, according to official results. The RPT refused to allow oversight during the counting of the ballots. The EU and the Carter Center deemed the elections to be fraudulent. Mass protests by the coalition of opposition parties led to the killing of over 1,000 citizens by security forces. 40,000 refugees fled to neighboring Benin and Ghana.

Corruption

The phosphates sector – accounting for 40% of export revenues – is managed at the office of the president, and it is alleged that contracts and permits to manage the sector are sold to profit the president.

Economic and fiscal policy

Since improving the Economy of Togo he has mobilized 12 to 860 billion CFA franc in order for construction of National No.2. He also reconstructed the nations infrastructure by progressing steps with the Togblécopé and Amakpapé bridges being completed. In which is why he had an agenda to develop the country in where he announced in Belgium.

Protests and term limit

Protest against Faure Gnassingbe in Belgium
Protesters in Belgium.

In 2019 the Parliament of Togo approved a new bill that allowed Gnassingbé to stay in office until 2030. Despite that many protests took place in the streets calling for the end of the dynasty ruling for 50+ years.

Foreign relations

He also met with Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta in where they talked about humanitarianism and that Gnassingbé has improved it in his presidency.

Meanwhile in 2010 Gnassingbé and the Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama met with each other with Hatoyama congratulating Gnassingbé for winning the election results. Gnassingbé later met Fumio Kishida in the Japan-Togo summit meeting where Kishida expressed his support for Gnassingbé for visiting the funeral of Shinzo Abe. In response, President Gnassingbe conveyed his sincere condolences to former Prime Minister. They would also talk about their good relations with each other and how Japan was going to reinforce its relationship.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Faure Gnassingbé para niños

  • History of Togo
  • Politics of Togo
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