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Togo Presidential Hopefuls Agree on Voter List, Allowing April 25 Poll

  • Reuters

FILE - Togo President Faure Gnassingbe casts his ballot in Lome during legislative elections July 25, 2013.

FILE - Togo President Faure Gnassingbe casts his ballot in Lome during legislative elections July 25, 2013.

All of Togo's presidential candidates have agreed on an updated but still "imperfect" voter roll, removing an obstacle that had forced a delay in the election that will now take place on April 25, election officials said on Wednesday.

"The current state of the election list is good enough for the 2015 vote," said Siaka Sangare, a Malian former general working for the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF).

The French-speaking nations group has worked with election organizers to address opposition complaints that election lists included numerous duplicates, potentially favoring President Faure Gnassingbe.

The president, who took over when his father died after 38 years in power, is favorite to secure a third term having already won elections in 2005 and 2010.

The OIF's Sangare said: "I admit that it is not perfect but it is a list that has been approved by representatives of all the candidates. I think that the list is satisfactory."

The vote was originally scheduled for April 15 but was delayed by 10 days after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for the lists to be revised.

The updated list has just over 3.5 million potential voters.

The last census, carried out in 2010, showed Togo's population was around 6 million.

One of the problems found was that over 24,500 voter cards bore exactly the same number but had different names. Experts also found that 291,907 cards had been linked to polling stations that did not correspond to where voters had registered.

"We are satisfied that the anomalies have been detected and corrected," said Brigitte Adjamagb-Johnson, head of the CAP 2015 alliance of parties that are backing opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre.

Opposition leaders had sought to convince Gnassingbe not to stand for re-election but talks on that broke down earlier this year and, unlike some other African nations where leaders are looking to stay in power, there is no two-term limit in Togo.

Gnassingbe faces four rivals in the vote. Campaigning is due to begin on Friday and will end on April 23.