Togo has said that parliamentary elections will be held "no later than the end of the first quarter of 2024." / Photo: AP

Togo's opposition fears an unfair vote after the government pushed back its timeline for parliamentary elections, the coordinator of the main coalition told AFP on Tuesday.

Togo's government on Monday said the next legislative and regional elections would take place "no later than the end of the first quarter of 2024", setting back President Faure Gnassingbe's promise in December last year to hold polls within 12 months.

Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson, coordinator of the DMP coalition of opposition parties, said the turnaround "does not seem realistic to us given everything that needs to be done before genuinely transparent and democratic elections."

Adjamagbo-Johnson called for the renewal of the electoral commission's mandate and fairer constituency boundaries, among other reforms.

Assembly with 'no power to legislate'

Talks with the government were needed to "make Togo a truly democratic country", she said, warning the opposition could stage demonstrations if it is not consulted in the run-up to the vote.

She also expressed concern about an "institutional vacuum" following the government's surprise announcement.

Under Togo's constitution, legislative elections must be held within 30 days of the end of the National Assembly's session – at the end of December.

"The country will be left for three months with an assembly that has no power to legislate on behalf of the Togolese or control the actions of the government," Adjamagbo-Johnson said.

Disputed elections

Togo's head of state has been in power since 2005 after the death of his father, General Eyadema Gnassingbe, who ruled the country for 38 years.

Since coming to office, Faure Gnassingbe has won every election, though the opposition has disputed those results.

In 2010 Adjamagbo-Johnson became the first woman to run for president in the West African state, but withdrew her candidacy, fearing fraud.

Polls in 2018 were boycotted by the opposition, which condemned "irregularities" in the census. This time, the opposition hopes to challenge the ruling Union for the Republic (UNIR) party, and has called for a registration surge.

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