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What are the Implications of Togo’s Proposed Constitutional Change?

Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe recently proposed an amendment to the country’s constitution. However, opposition groups are opposed to the change as they believe it will only serve to extend the president’s hold on power and weaken the country’s democracy. Gnassingbe’s proposed constitutional amendment seeks to change the West African country’s system of government from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. Within the new system, the country’s head of government will be the prime minister who will serve a six-year tenure. Naturally, the prime minister will be the head of the majority party in parliament. Given Gnassingbe’s many allies in parliament, opposition groups see it as a ploy for him to remain in power after his current tenure as president elapses next February. If the proposed change sails through, Gnassingbe will be able to contest for a new term as president after which he can relinquish the role to become prime minister. Consequently, he can extend his stay in power by another 10 years, at the very least.