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
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
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
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
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.