Togo Poll: Candidates pull out
Lome - Two opposition candidates, including a former premier, said Monday they were withdrawing from Togo's presidential elections next month in protest at what they said were anomalies in the voters' register.
Yawovi Agboyibo, a former prime minister, and Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson, the west African country's first woman presidential candidate, said they would suspend their participation in the March 4 vote until their demands to clean up the register were met.
"We find that key issues remain unresolved, including the correction of discrepancies cited during a review of electoral rolls, the adoption of measures to ensure traceability of ballots and authentification of voters' ballots," Adjamagbo-Johnson said.
Agboyibo, of the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR) and Adjamagbo-Johnson, of the Democratic Convention of African Peoples, are among seven candidates.
At the weekend, the main opposition the Union of Forces for Change (UFC) quit the commission organising the election saying it was not going to be part of an "electoral masquerade". It said there were irregularities in the drawing up of the electoral rolls.
CAR secretary general Jean Kissi said his party had also pulled its two representatives from the 17-member National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).
Faure Gnassingbe is seeking another term after succeeding his Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in February 2005 after 38 years in power.
The election was moved from February 28 to March 4 at the request of the opposition in talks mediated by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.
For many observers, the election will be a further test of Togolese democracy after the parliamentary elections that took place without incident in October 2007.