Togo, ruled by Africa’s longest-serving political dynasty and rocked by months of anti-regime protests, will hold legislative and local elections in December as well as a referendum on constitutional reforms, the national poll body said Tuesday.
Since September last year, hundreds of thousands of people across Togo have staged demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who took power in 2005 after the death of his father who had ruled for 38 years.
“We will hold the local elections and the referendum on December 16,” said national election commission chief Kodjona Kadanga, without specifying what reforms were envisaged.
“And on December 20, we will organise legislative elections,” he said.
“We are technically prepared. I can assure you that we have sufficient balloting material as well as people. There are no problems on our side.”
The opposition is demanding a return to the 1992 constitution which included a two-term limit for presidents, effective retroactively so Gnassingbe could not be a candidate in the next poll in 2020.
In a roadmap published on July 31, 2018, the regional organisation had called for parliamentary elections to be held before December 20, without deciding on local elections or referendum, with the option that the constitutional and institutional reforms requested by the opposition should be carried out before then.
Meanwhile, the opposition has rejected the date set for the local elections and the referendum, and is calling for a cessation of CENI’s activities.
Togo’s CENI announced that it would organize, from October 1 to 24, a census of the electorate throughout the country.