Togo’s constitutional court on Wednesday called on the government to organise parliamentary elections before the end of the year.

“The court notes that the process is late with regards to the constitutional timeframe,” it said in a statement read on national television late on Tuesday.

Parliamentary elections should take place in the 30 days preceeding the end of lawmakers’ mandate on August 19, it added.

The court asked Togo’s independent national election commission (CENI) and the government to “take steps to organise parliamentary elections before the end of 2018”.

In Togo, the government calls elections on the recommendation of the election commission — but the process has been stalled by a political crisis which has gripped the country for nearly a year.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in regular protests, calling for a return to a two-term limit for presidents and incumbent Faure Gnassingbe to step down.

The Gnassingbe family has ruled Togo since 1968. Faure Gnassingbe took over on the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005 and has since won three, disputed elections.

Talks between the opposition coalition and the government, steered by the presidents of Ghana and Guinea, broke down in March.

The reintroduction of a two-term limit is a major stumbling block as it will determine whether Gnassingbe stands at the next presidential election scheduled for 2020.

The opposition on Wednesday criticised the constitutional court’s statement as it has not yet designated its representatives for the election commission.

It believes the body’s composition should be rebalanced according to the institutional reforms expected to result from the talks.