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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 13:04 GMT
Togo's MPs reverse 'coup' changes
Faure Gnassingbe
Faure insists he is staying in the presidential seat until elections
Togo's National Assembly has voted to reverse constitutional changes that allowed President Gnassingbe Eyadema's son to take power when his father died.

The army's installation of Faure Gnassingbe caused an outcry and West African leaders imposed sanctions.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Togo says the move could offer Mr Faure a dignified way to step aside.

However, the Togolese MPs stopped short of asking Mr Faure to step down and his future as president remains unclear.

After the decision, an MP told the BBC, as he chuckled, that he did not know what Mr Faure would do.

Opening the parliamentary session, the deputy speaker had said it was only a fool who never changed his mind. The MP introducing the bill said the measure would ensure national serenity in Togo and restore international confidence.


Mr Faure originally said he would serve his father's full term until 2008.

He later promised to hold presidential elections within months. But this was rejected as insufficient by the regional grouping, Ecowas, when it met on Saturday.

We prefer to have sanctions and be in peace and stability rather than descending towards civil war
Kokou Tozoun
Togolese Foreign Minister

The group imposed sanctions, including a travel ban on Togolese leaders and an arms embargo.

The African Union backed the Ecowas stance.

The European Union urged Togo to restore constitutional order and the United States announced it would end all military assistance.

"We are reviewing all aspects of our relationship," state department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Rival rallies

Under the original constitution - which was amended to legitimise Mr Faure's installation - the parliamentary speaker should hold the presidency pending the election. He remains overseas.

The authorities say Mr Faure was installed to prevent a dangerous power vacuum.
Opposition march in Lome, 29 February 2005
The opposition wants the new leader to step down immediately

Togolese Foreign Minister Kokou Tozoun told Reuters news agency: "Can we be without a president for 60 days?"

He added: "We prefer to have sanctions and be in peace and stability rather than descending towards civil war."

On Saturday, opponents and supporters of the new leader held rival demonstrations. Both passed off peacefully. A week earlier, at least three people were killed when police opened fire during a protest.

The opposition wants Mr Faure to stand down immediately.

One of the main opposition parties has accused France - the former colonial power - of failing to use its influence to resolve the crisis.

Details of the sanctions being imposed on Togo

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