Togo postpones legislative, regional elections


(MENAFN) The president's office in Togo declared on Wednesday that legislative and regional elections, initially slated for this month, would be postponed.

This announcement came just hours before the commencement of campaign activities. The election, intended for 4.2 million voters, was scheduled for April 20, with the electoral campaign set to kick off the following day.

However, the presidency did not specify a new date for the elections, citing the necessity to conduct "consultations" regarding contested constitutional reforms that were approved last month.

“The government will slightly rearrange the calendar of legislative and regional elections,” the presidency stated in a declaration.

The decision to postpone the elections comes shortly after Togo's National Assembly approved amendments to the country's constitution on March 25.

These amendments aimed to transition Togo from a presidential to a parliamentary system of government. The move drew criticism from activists and opposition figures within the country, who voiced concerns about the implications of the changes.

Specifically, they objected to the removal of the provision for the direct election of future presidents. In response to these criticisms, there were calls for protests to prevent President Faure Gnassingbe from signing the bill into law.

Upon receiving the bill, President Faure Gnassingbe opted to return it to the National Assembly for a "second reading."

The revised legislation suggests implementing a single term of six years for the Togolese president, rather than the previous five-year term, which could be renewed once.

However, opposition groups perceive these alterations as a strategic maneuver to enable Gnassingbe to pursue reelection once his current term concludes in 2025.

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