- Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe will contest the top job with six other candidates in the national elections on Thursday.
President Gnassingbe, 43, was installed as president in February 2005 by the military after the death of his father. The US, United Nations and West African nations said his appointment was unconstitutional and called for elections.
The other contender is Jean-Pierre Fabre, candidate of the main opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change (UFC) led by Gilchrist Olympio, son of the country's first post independent president.
Former prime minister Yawovi Agboyibo, candidate of the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), and another leading opponent to Mr Gnassingbe, is trying his luck for third time after he lost twice already in 1998 and 2003. Mr Agboyibo is one of the most prominent figures of the Togolese opposition, who began his political career after political unrest that rocked the country in 1990.
Another former prime minister, Messan Agbeyome Kodjo, of the Organisation for the Building of a United Togo (OBUTS), defected from Mr Faure's Togolese People's Rally (RPT) to set up his own party in 2005.
Mr Kodjo was the former speaker in 1999 to 2000 after holding several ministerial portfolios in Mr Eyadema's government.
This is the first time he is taking part in a presidential election.
Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson, a member of the Democratic Convention of African Peoples (CDPA opposition) is the only woman in the race and the first to seek the highest office in Togo.
Foreign governments resumed assistance to the country in 2007 after parliamentary elections that were deemed free and fair, and the following year Togo qualified for debt relief under an International Monetary Fund programme.
Hundreds of people died in violence after the last presidential vote in 2005 that was held following the death of Gnassingbe Eyadema, Faure’s father, who had ruled the country since 1967.
With the low political tides, Togo’s economy is estimated to have grown by 2.4 percent in 2009 and is projected to grow 2.6 percent this year.
Floods in 2007 and 2008, high prices for food imports in 2008 and the global financial crisis have hindered economic growth, according to local sources.
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