The small West African nation of Togo is holding legislative elections on Thursday amid signs voters are increasingly fed up with the ruling party. Analysts say in order to win, though, the opposition will have to overcome its own divisions, as well as an electoral system vulnerable to fraud. Negotiations over how the election would be run continued until just a few weeks ago, and major opposition parties refused to confirm until recently that they would participate. On Tuesday, the final day of campaigning, however, all the major parties staged rallies in Togo’s capital, Lome, expressing confidence about their chances.
… These legislative elections originally were scheduled for October 2012, but large-scale protests over a new electoral law forced them to be pushed back.
Thursday’s vote will be monitored by a team from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union, and the Dakar-based NGO Goree Institute.
West African politics expert Comi Toulabor, who directs research at France’s National Foundation of Political Science, said that even with monitors in place, there is no guarantee the election will be fair. He said the vote is not very well organized. It is an improvisation, and it is the government that gives the results. So those are not necessarily the results the Togolese have chosen.”