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Togo announces referendum, legislative election dates

Local elections and a constitutional referendum will be held on December 16 while legislative polls are four days later.

Togo will hold legislative and local elections in December as well as a referendum on constitutional reform.

"We will hold the local elections and the referendum on December 16, and on December 20 we will organise legislative elections," national election commission Chief Kodjona Kadanga said on Tuesday.

"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." 

Kadanga did not specify what reforms were envisaged.

Togo's latest political crisis started in August 2017, when large numbers of people rallied against the administration of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Mass anti-government rallies have repeatedly been held across the country since, with protesters demanding an end to the 50-year rule by the Gnassingbe family and constitutional reform, including a two-term limit for presidents.

Nationwide demonstrations have led to clashes between security forces and protesters that have turned deadly.

The opposition is demanding a return to the 1992 constitution, which included a two-term limit for presidents, effective retroactively so Gnassingbe cannot be a candidate in the next vote in 2020.

Calls for institutional reform also include reinstating a two-round voting system and allowing the diaspora to cast ballots in elections.

More than half of Togo's 7.5 million population is under 25. These people have only known life under the rule of Gnassingbe and his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema.

The ruling family's dynasty started in 1967 when Eyadema seized power in a coup.

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