Togo has shifted from a presidential to a parliamentary system following the adoption of a new constitution by lawmakers on Monday.

Under the new constitution introduced by members of the ruling party, Togolese citizens will no longer directly elect their president. Instead, lawmakers will now elect the president of the republic for a single six-year term.

The move, which comes amid allegations of electoral irregularities and opposition boycotts, consolidates power within the parliament, where the ruling party holds a dominant position.

One of the key provisions of the new constitution is the creation of the position of “president of the council of ministers,” who will wield full authority to manage government affairs. This position will be held either by the leader of the party securing the majority in legislative elections or by the leader of the winning coalition of parties.

The president of the council of ministers will serve a six-year term, providing continuity in governance.

Moreover, members of parliament (MPs) will now be elected through universal suffrage for renewable six-year terms, marking a shift towards a more representative legislative body.

The adoption of the new constitution, which was partly endorsed by lawmakers whose mandates were set to expire last year, raises questions about the timeline for its implementation.

In light of these changes, the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for April 20th, along with regional elections, take on added significance. With 4.2 million Togolese registered to vote, these elections will shape the country’s political landscape under the new parliamentary system.

Togo’s political landscape has long been dominated by the Gnassingbe clan, which has held power since 1967.