The first local elections in 18 years will be held Dec. 14, conducted only five weeks after they were announced. Predictably, the opposition has vowed not to participate without a national dialogue about the current political situation, citing irregularities in the June 2003 presidential election that saw longtime ruler Gnassingbe Eyadema retain power as he has for the past 36 years. Unrest is possible. Consider deferring travel here until the election has passed.