Togo's President Takes Poll Lead

Police used teargas to scatter opposition protesters led by their presidential candidate, Jean-Pierre Fabre, in the heart of the capital Lome, police and witnesses said.

Earlier police in anti-riot gear fanned out across the seaside capital and set up barricades at strategic points.

The streets were progressively deserted and businesses closed.

“We do not know what is going to happen. We are all afraid. We do not know how we will wake up tomorrow,” Jean-Luc, a motorcycle taxi driver told AFP.

20 electoral districts

Gnassingbe, in office since 2005 after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled for 38 years, got 613 819 votes, according to results from 20 of Togo’s electoral districts, the national poll agency CENI announced.

Opposition rival Jean-Pierre Fabre garnered 515 628 votes, according to an official who was speaking as results were being compiled.

Some 3.2m Togolese were eligible to vote in Thursday’s election, seen as a key test of the country’s resolve to turn a page on electoral bloodletting.

But there were accusations that this vote was flawed.

Observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc said in a statement that the poll had been “free” but reported “insufficiencies concerning the reliability and authentification of ballots”.

An opposition member in CENI, Jean-Claude Codjo, walked out of the agency’s meeting Saturday in protest against what he said was fraud.

“There is a lack of transparency and credibility that I firmly denounce,” said Codjo, a member of Fabre’s Union of Forces for Change (UFC) party.  AFP