LOME, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The 25th April polling with the incumbent head of state Faure Gnassingbe standing for a third term occurred in "acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency", the ECOWAS electoral observation mission said on Sunday in a provisional statement.
The mission led by Amos Sawyer, former interim president of the government of unity of Liberia, said to have not "found any major hindrance or incident that might undermine the integrity of the voting process".
According to Mr. Sawyer, this polling is decisive not only to the consolidation of democratic governance in Togo but also for the national reconciliation and unity of the West African country.
He went on to state that the ECOWAS observation mission hopes that the current presidential election "should pave the way for the deepening of political, economic and security reforms that are necessary for the development of Togo ".
The mission appealed to the entire population, political leaders, candidates to the election and their supporters to abstain from any acts of violence, intimidation and provocation, pointing out that the West African country is in decisive phase of peace and democracy consolidation.
For the April 25th presidential election, ECOWAS deployed pre- electoral mission, a long term observation mission and a short term election observation mission, beside the provision of financial assistance.
The mission said to have noticed a massive mobilization of women and youth during the election process, adding that all candidates had free access to public media and all parts of the country for their electoral campaign.
About 3,509,258 voters were expected to cast their vote on Saturday in 8,994 voting stations to choose among the incumbent head of State Faure Gnassingbe standing for a third term, facing four candidates from the opposition. While he results are expected, Taffa Tabiou, the chairman of the national independent electoral commission (CENI), on Saturday, declared about 55 percent voting rate, according to the latest estimate that he received.
"This is to be confirmed", he said, as centralization process is ongoing.
Faure Gnassingbe, who is searching a third term, came to power in April 2005, following special election after the death on 5 February the same year of his father General Gnassingbe Eyadema who ran Togo from 1967 till his death. He was reelected in March 2010 election with 60.89 percent of the votes.