Togolese presidential election postponed
Togo's presidential vote set for February 28 has been delayed until March 4 following an opposition request, a presidential decree announced Thursday. In power since 2005, Faure Gnassingbe (pictured) is running for another term of office.
AFP - Togo's presidential election set for February 28 has been delayed until March 4 following an opposition request, a presidential decree read out on state television announced Thursday.
"The date for the presidential election is fixed for Thursday, March 4. Polling stations will be open from 0700 to 1700 throughout the country," the decree said.
The delay comes in response to a request from the opposition during talks in Burkina Faso with President Blaise Compaore who is mediating inter-Togolese dialogue.
"With the aim of permanently seeking consensus and maintaining a peaceful climate during the electoral process, the head of state (Faure Gnassingbe), in consultation with Compaore, decided during a cabinet meeting to delay the election," the decree said.
Campaigning, which had been due to start on February 13, will now start on February 16.
In power since 2005, Gnassingbe is running for another term of office backed by the ruling Togolese People's Rally (RPT). He is the son of Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in February 2005 after 38 years in power.
One of the candidates, Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson of the opposition Democratic Convention of African Peoples, is the first woman to run for the presidency in the small west African country.
The constitutional court has proclaimed the candidature of Kofi Yamgnane, a former French government minister who holds dual nationality, invalid because his French documents give one date of birth and his Togolese documents give another.
For many observers, the election will be a test of Togolese democracy after the parliamentary elections that took place without incident in October 2007.
In Togo, presidential elections have always been followed by opposition challenges and violence, particularly in 2005 after the death of General Eyadema.
Opposition demonstrations were severely repressed, leading to between 100 and 800 deaths, according to different sources.