Togo opposition wants election delayed

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

The flag of Togo

The opposition parties in Togo held a demonstration on Saturday to demand a delay in the upcoming elections. The elections to replace the deceased ruler, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, are scheduled to be held on April 24, 2005.

The elections were scheduled after an outpouring of international criticism about the army's installment of the late president's son as the country's new leader. The son, Faure Gnassingbé, initially circumvented the constitutional process for new elections 60 days after the death of a current president, but announced elections after African and European leaders strongly criticized the move.

The opposition is demanding a delay for the election, because they fear they will not be able to carry out a sufficient campaign. The candidates from the two prominent opposition parties, Emmanuel Bob Akitani and Nicolas Lawson, both registered with the election officials despite the view that elections should be delayed. In a demonstration in the nation's capital, Akitani's supporters cheered as the candidate called for better representation on elected bodies — something the government denies is a problem.

The supporters of the current government also held a rally in the city, shouting "No" to the prospect of delaying elections.