The Republic of Togo has a complex political history marked by harrowing democratic transitions. The Eyadéma political dynasty has led the country for more than fifty years. Gnassingbé Eyadéma assumed office in 1967 and was president until his death in 2005.
He led as the head of a military junta from 1967 to 1993, and following the National Conference of Togo he was the democratically elected leader from 1993-2005. The ascension to multi-party democracy was heralded by the National Sovereign Conference of 1991. The Togo National Conference was said to be precipitated by a similar National Conference held in the Benin Republic in 1990.
Late President Gnassingbé Eyadéma won all three elections held in 1993, 1998, and 2003, though each election was described as flawed by observers. The 1993 election was boycotted by the opposition. The 1998 election was marred by fraud and serious irregularities. For instance, in a usurpation of the powers and duties of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), President Eyadema was proclaimed winner of the election by the Minister of Interior and Security rather than by CENI.
This action was based on the judgement of the Constitutional Court of July 1998, which held that the Minister could replace the CENI. The 1998 election was judged to be fraudulent and violent with some casualties recorded on the opposition side.
The political impasse arising from the 1998 Presidential Election led to the signing of the Accord-Cadre de Lomé́ (Lomé framework Agreement) by President Eyadema and his political party, the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) in July 1999 in Paris. The agreement, negotiated between the opposition political parties and international facilitators, agreed on the following:
- In accordance with Article 59 of the 1992 Constitution of Togo, President Eyadéma will vie for office as President in 2003
- The rights of political parties, media and others shall be guaranteed among many others.