Togolese political parties open talks

2011-09-30 07:54

Lome - Togo's ruling and opposition parties resumed dialogue on institutional and constitutional reforms in Lome on Thursday, though with a major opposition group missing.

The talks had broken down shortly before a hotly contested presidential election in March 2010.

They resumed under the auspices of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission set up by President Faure Gnassingbe in 2009 to investigate political violence in the small west African country.

However, Jean-Pierre Fabre's National Alliance for Change (ANC), one of the main opposition factions, boycotted the talks along with another group, The Renewal Action Committee (CAR).

"It is unacceptable for a party whose deputies have had their parliamentary mandates revoked in violation of the constitution, to take part in such a dialogue," the ANC said in a statement.

Nine party deputies, including Fabre, were stripped of their parliamentary seats last November, following a decision by the constitutional court.

The discussions focus notably on the presidential eligibility rules, including mandate limits as well as the role of the prime minister, the constitutional court and the senate.

Togo's truth and reconciliation commission set up to investigate past political violence spanning nearly five decades has recorded more than 20 000 cases.

The country, which gained independence from France in 1960, was rocked by waves of political violence, particularly in the presidential election of April 2005, after the death of General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for 38 years.