Togo: Legislative Election Campaign Opens Amidst Tense Atmosphere

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This Saturday marks the beginning of two weeks of electoral campaigning for the legislative and regional elections scheduled for April 29th. Originally slated for a week earlier, the elections were postponed by President Faure Gnassingbé following public outcry over the adoption of the new Constitution in the National Assembly last month.

While this new fundamental law still awaits promulgation by the head of state, opposition parties remain staunchly opposed to the text, yet they still intend to participate in the election to make it a vote of censure.

Although these are the very first regional elections in Togo’s history, it is the legislative polls that are attracting the most attention. This heightened interest comes especially after the surprise adoption of the new Constitution by deputies on March 25th.

Following the clandestine vote on the new fundamental law, which transitions the presidential regime to a parliamentary one, President Faure Gnassingbé sought to ease tensions by delaying the promulgation of the text and requesting a second reading in the National Assembly.

For the opposition, the opening campaign will serve primarily to denounce what opponents of the government view as a “constitutional coup” aimed at keeping the Togolese president in power indefinitely.

According to the parties, the postponement of the elections and the subsequent, yet again surprising announcement of the polls in two weeks, is an attempt to disrupt the campaign of opposition formations.


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