One of Togo's oldest opposition parties, the Union des Forces du Changement (UFC-Union of the Forces for Change), has announced its withdrawal for the opposition coalition, which groups all of the country's opposition parties. The UFC said it would withdraw because the coalition had agreed to sit on the National Independent Electoral Commission ahead of presidential elections, news sources reported.

Parliament in Togo has changed the constitution, removing clauses that would have forced the president to step down before elections next year. President Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a coup in 1967, making him Africa's longest-serving head of state.

The Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) of International PEN has expressed deep concern over the continued imprisonment of Claude Améganvi, editor of the journal "Nwayo", who is currently serving a four month sentence. He has been charged with "distributing false information, defamation and disturbance of the public order" and is threatened with a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment.

Closed-door talks between the government of Cote d'Ivoire and the rebels resumed in the Togolese capital, Lome, on Wednesday, a source in Lome told IRIN. The talks which were to begin on Monday were delayed when the rebel delegation failed to show up in Lome and threatened to pull out of the talks if their political demands such as the resignation of President Laurent Gbagbo and fresh elections were not included in this round of talks.

Barely seven days to Togo's disputed legislative elections, President Gnassingbe Eyadema has provoked a political and constitutional row with the country's opposition parties by promulgating two controversial decrees.