West Africa's ECOWAS bloc proposes 10-day delay to Togo vote

President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe arrives for a dinner with the French President and other dignitaries as part of the Summit for Peace and Security in Africa at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

LOME (Reuters) - West Africa's ECOWAS bloc has proposed a 10-day delay to Togo's election, due on April 15, to allow authorities time to complete a revision of the voter list, which opposition parties says is skewed in favour of the incumbent. The proposal was made by John Dramani Mahama, Ghana's president who currently chairs ECOWAS, during a visit to Togo on Tuesday. Togolese authorities have not yet responded. "Given the work that is being done to the election list, it is not clear that the election due on April 15 will be able to take place as planned," Mahama said at the end of a short visit to Togo. "As a result, ECOWAS proposes that the election is delayed by 10 days to allow the election list to be revised so everyone is satisfied," he said. Opposition parties have repeatedly demanded that the election list be audited as they say it contains thousands of people who have registered twice and are likely to vote for President Faure Gnassingbe. Gnassingbe is widely expected to win the vote, securing himself a third term in power. He was installed as president by the army in 2005 when his father died after leading the tiny West African nation for 38 years. Gnassingbe stepped down under international pressure but went on to win a hostly-contested election months later and was re-elected for a second term in 2010. International experts are helping local election authorities update the voter roll and Mahama said the work could be finished this week. Political parties would then be given time to approve the revised lists. Earlier this year, Togo's opposition failed in talks with the ruling party to support changes to the constitution to introduce term limits, freeing up Gnassingbe to stand for a third term.