Opposition leader urges Togo president not to stand again

LOME – The president of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, was on Tuesday urged not to seek re-election in 2020 to guarantee his place in history as the man who ushered in peaceful political change.

 Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005, when his father died. He has been the target of a wave of protests since late August calling him to quit.

 Stalwart of the opposition, Gilchrist Olympio said Gnassingbe and his government should accept a return to the 1992 constitution, that sets a 10 year limit for presidents. “Faure Gnassingbe must then accept principle of not running in the presidential elections of 2020, to leave the field clear for democratic consultation,” Olympio said.

 He added: “The chance is being offered… to go down in history by creating the conditions for the peaceful change of power.”

 He also called on opposition to be united and plot a way forward as well as announcing his retirement from politics.

 His father was the first president of Togo after independence from French colonial rule in 1960. He was later killed in a military coup in 1963 in which General Gnassingbe Eyadema, President Gnassingbe’s father, took part.

 As opposition has rejected a government proposal of two-term limits, mediators like Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Alpha Conde of Guinea are trying to open up talks between the two sides.

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