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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 01:05 GMT
Togo's interim leader steps down
Faure Gnassingbe
Mr Faure has come under repeated pressure to leave office
Togo's interim leader Faure Gnassingbe has said he is stepping down as president, after strong international pressure to leave office.

In a statement broadcast on state media, Mr Faure said he would stand as a candidate in a presidential election due to be held in two months' time.

Mr Faure said the move would "guarantee the transparency" of the poll.

The UN and African Union imposed sanctions on Togo after Mr Faure was installed as president by the army.

"I've taken the decision to step down from the office of president in the interest of Togo," he said on state radio, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"It's now up to the national assembly to elect a new head who will be interim president of the republic."

Abass Bonfoh will serve as interim president until the elections, after the national assembly voted him chairman late on Friday.

Foreign visits

Under the constitution, the chairman should have taken over as interim president on the death of the head of state.

Intstead, Mr Faure took power hours after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, earlier this month.

Although he promised elections within 60 days, as stipulated by the constitution, this did little to quell protests from African neighbours and beyond.

Constitutional amendments swiftly introduced to legitimise Mr Faure's appointment have since been partly reversed.

Late on Friday, the country's ruling party nominated Mr Faure as its new candidate for the presidential election.

Earlier this week, he visited Gabon and then Libya, for a meeting with President Muammar Gaddafi.




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