Magazine article New African

Worrying Trend. (Togo)

Magazine article New African

Worrying Trend. (Togo)

Article excerpt

A political deadlock is once again looming in Togo, and dire warnings are coming from the opposition parties and diplomats. The new wave of warnings has been sparked by a "unilateral stance" taken recently by President Gnassingbe Eyadema to bring in new changes to the electoral commission.

Opposition parties have accused Eyadema (who is expected to retire when his current term ends next year) of trying to undermine the authority of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), itself the product of the Inter-Togolese Dialogue negotiated between the opposition and government in July 1999 to facilitate peace and reconciliation after the heated disputes over the 1998 presidential election.

Under a peace agreement brokered by the European Union (EU) in 1999, both the government and opposition had equal representation of 10 members each on the NEC, but a new amendment to the electoral law passed by parliament on 8 February has reduced the NEC membership from 20 to 10.

But on 3 January this year, Eyadema made a big U-turn when he suddenly announced, after an extraordinary ministerial council meeting in Lome, that his government was going to introduce in parliament a set of draft proposals meant to review the composition of the NEC, and also introduce a new law banning candidates who had not lived continuously in the country for 12 months, from standing in elections. …

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