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Togo's new leader announces resignation as president
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-26 15:20:36

     LOME, Feb. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe hassaid that he was stepping down as president and would contest the elections to be held in April.

    Gnassingbe announced his resignation late Friday, just hours after accepting the nomination by his party as presidential candidate.

    "In order to guarantee the transparency of this election ...and to give the same chance to all the candidates, I have decided to renounce the post of president of the national assembly, who isacting president of the republic," said Gnassingbe in a speech broadcast on state media, "It's now up to the National Assembly to elect a new head who will be interim president of the republic."

    Ruling party member Abass Bonfoh, who was chosen as the new head of the National Assembly in a late night vote, will be actingpresident until elections.

    The Togolese army installed Gnassingbe in office on February 7,shortly after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema despite aconstitutional provision stating that power ought to pass to the speaker of the National Assembly.

    The African Union, which labeled the Togolese army's move as unconstitutional and "a coup," on Friday imposed sanctions againstthe government of Togo, suspending Togo's participation in the AU's activities as of the day.

    At the weekend, the Economic Community of West African States suspended Togo's membership, imposed an arms embargo on Lome and recalled ambassadors to the country.

    Togo lies in west Africa, forming a narrow strip stretching north from a coastline on the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, Burkina Faso to the north.

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