Togo opposition protests for election reform

10/01/2010
Togo opposition protests for election reform

Thousands of opposition activists took to the streets of Togo's capital Lome on Saturday in a new wave of protests calling for presidential elections next month to be held over two rounds.
Demonstrators marched through the streets before attending a rally called by the main opposition Union for the Forces of Change (UFC).
They brandished placards with slogans such as "no two-round vote, no elections" and "bad election equals violence".
Supporters from the second largest opposition party, the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), also attended the protest marches and the rally.
Lawmakers voted in 2002 to change the Togolese constitution and introduce single-round presidential elections. Under that law, a president is elected by a simple majority.
The UFC and the CAR last year threatened to boycott the elections if there was no return to the old two-round system.
The protesters also demanded a revision of the electoral rolls and a reduction of the deposit payable by candidates interesting in taking part in the vote.
When they formally declare their candidature, presidential hopefuls for the February 28 elections are to pay a fee equivalent to around 30,500 euros, yet aspiring lawmakers paid about half of that in the 2007 legislative elections.

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