Africa

Togo profile - Leaders

  • 20 April 2015
  • From the section Africa

President: Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema

Togo's president Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema

Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema succeeded his father when died in 2005, having ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.

The military installed Faure Gnassingbe as president, but following intense local and international pressure he stepped aside and called elections. Hundreds died challenging his victory in those polls.

In the subsequent presidential elections in March 2010, he was declared winner, with 61% of the ballots against the main opposition's candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre, who received 35% of the vote. The opposition complained of fraud again and staged repeated protests.

In talks to end the dispute, Gilchrist Olympio, leader of the main opposition Union of Forces for Change (UFC) and son of first post-independence president Sylvanus Olympio, struck a deal with Mr Gnassingbe under which the UFC would join the government - to the disgust of many opposition stalwarts.

In an attempt to overcome international isolation, boost investment and calm growing domestic unrest, President Gnassingbe promised that parliamentary elections in 2013 would be free and fair. The elections were held in July, with the ruling UNIR party winning two-thirds of parliamentary seats - according to provisional results - and allowing the president's family to maintain its decades-long grip on power.

Opposition groups have protested at changes to the electoral law which they say further favour the governing coalition, but are looking ahead to presidential polls in 2015 that could see a serious challenge to the Gnassingbe family's decades in power.

  • In early 2015 Mr Gnassingbe defied opposition calls to step aside, accepting his party's nomination as a candidate for elections. Togo does not currently have constitutional term limits, despite protests last year calling for them to be re-introduced. Mr Gnassingbe is the favourite to win the presidential election in April as the opposition is divided.