Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe expressed his "satisfaction" after voting in Thursday’s parliamentary elections, and spoke of "the strength of the institutions" and "the stability" of his country as "guarantees of a democracy and inclusive development.”
"I have fulfilled my civic duty with satisfaction today in the context of the legislative elections to renew our National Assembly," he said on Tweeter and Facebook, after voting in Pya, his native village some 420 km north of Lomé.
"The strength of our institutions and the stability of our country guarantee democracy and are a foundation for inclusive development," he added.
The coalition of 14 opposition parties in Togo, which has called for postponing the election and is boycotting the poll, had on Wednesday called on the population to a "general mobilization" - "Togolese to mobilize in towns, villages and districts to wreck the legislative elections organized unilaterally by Faure Gnassingbe's regime on Thursday December 20, 2018".
It would be recalled that under talks facilitated by ECOWAS and mediated by Ghanaian President, the government of Faure Gnassingbe and the opposition coalition have since 2017 engaged in negotiations on how to proceed with political reforms in the country.
ECOWAS in a roadmap published on July 31, 2018 proposed December 20 as the date for legislative elections and the implementation of constitutional reforms.
Voting centers in Togo have opened since 8 am local time (7 am GMT) with security provided by 8,000 members of the Special Election Force (ESF) deployed throughout the country, to ensure that voting takes place in a calm environment
There is voting at several polling centers in Lome and in the interior of the country, but is delayed in some places. For example, the Catholic Church of Amoutive, a neighbourhood located downtown in the capital did not open its centers to receive election materials.
Meanwhile, Togolese Security Minister Yark Damehane has announced a ban on all vehicles to inter-city traffic on Thursday, as well as the closure of "pubs, restaurants and other places of enjoyment".
Consequently, Lome on Thursday looks like a dead city, with only the security and defence forces visible in several places.