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Togo Protestors Want Elections Delayed

In Togo, hundreds of people took to the streets today to protest what they call rigged voters lists. The crowd was made up of supporters of a six-party opposition coalition led by the country’s largest opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change. In recent months, the coalition has demanded the postponement of elections scheduled to take place in two weeks.

Nathan Van Dusen is the program manager for West Africa at the Washington-based international democracy assistance organization, IFES – formerly, the International Federation for Election Systems. It took part in a recent assessment of Togo’s electoral system that included a look at the voter registration rolls. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that the number of registered voters on previous lists - which served as a basis for the current list - exceeded the anticipated voting age population. The IFES official adds that no analysis has yet been done on the accuracy of the new list.

Togolese election officials allowed a 10-day registration period ending April 5th. Names of the dead were to have been removed from the voters' register – as well as those rejected by political parties and civil society groups. New names were also added. The IFES team was not confident there was enough time to completely update the rolls.

Togolese election officials say 450 thousand new voters have been registered and 100,000 thousand names deleted. They say another two million registered voters have been given new voting cards.