Togo – Opposition Boycott Elections
Elections scheduled for December 20 will be boycotted by the main opposition coalition, a representative has announced. The news comes after the Constitutional Court validated a list of 12 political parties and 17 opposition candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections, but none of the 14 parties within the major coalition.
Speaking on local radio Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson repeated concerns from the opposition that the polls would be fraudulent. "We're not going to give our blessing to this masquerade being prepared," she stated.
The coalition is also calling for protests ahead of December 20, including this coming Thursday and Saturday, to oppose irregularities in the process and demand changes to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI). Election campaigns are due to start in less than a week on December 4.
The group is also seeking the assistance of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address their concerns.
Commenting on a possible boycott government security minister General Yark Damehame has been reported as saying: "A boycott is a democratic choice. One should not seek to destroy the voting booth or the ballot box."
President Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005, prior to which his father ruled for 38 years.