May 4, 2015 / 2:29 PM / in 4 years

Togo's Gnassingbe sworn in as dynasty extends its lengthy rule

LOME (Reuters) - Togo’s constitutional court swore in incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe for a third term in office on Monday, prolonging for another five years his family’s nearly half-century rule over the West African nation.

Togo’s election commission announced a comfortable victory for Gnassingbe in the largely peaceful April 25 vote, saying he took 58.75 percent of the more than 1.2 million votes cast.

His main opposition challenger Jean-Pierre Fabre has alleged the polls were marred by fraud and rejected the result. However, he did not lodge an official complaint with the constitutional court, which validated Gnassingbe’s victory on Sunday.

Wearing a blue suit and tie and with his hand placed on a copy of Togo’s constitution, the 48-year-old president swore the oath of office in a brief ceremony in the capital Lome that was accompanied by a 21-gun salute.

“The Court hopes that the faith that led you through your previous term in office will continue to guide your actions in the superior interest of the Togolese people,” said Constitutional Court President Aboudou Assouma.

Gnassingbe has served as Togo’s president since 2005, when his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died after 38 years in charge of the former French colony. He won re-election in a disputed poll in 2010.

Despite tensions that followed the announcement of his victory last month and saw regional leaders travel to Lome to mediate, Togo avoided the kind of post-election violence that saw hundreds killed in the aftermath of previous polls.

Reporting by John Zodzi; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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