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Togo government, opposition resume talks after three-month hiatus


AFP Lome
Talks between Togo's government and the country's political opposition resumed today after a three-month suspension, the presidency said.
"The presidents of Ghana and Guinea (Nana Akufo-Addo and Alpha Conde) arrived in Lome to further the political dialogue started in February," it said in a statement. "At the end of the talks with the participating parties, they will make suggestions to the next heads of state and government meeting of the Economic Community of West African States."

But the Togo presidency warned the opposition and the intermediaries that no decision will challenge the constitutional status quo. The warning is the main stumbling block in the talks as the opposition in the former French colony wants a return to the 1992 constitution which included a two-term limit for presidents.
President Faure Gnassingbe took over power in 2005 after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the small West African state with an iron fist for 38 years.
Faure Gnassingbe has won three contested elections since then. Without a retroactive limit on his mandate, he could stand in the next two votes and potentially be in power until 2030.
The government refuses to make the two-term limit retroactive and the opposition coalition has said it will not accept the president as a candidate for elections scheduled for 2020.
The talks began on February 19 but ground to a halt in late March after only three sessions. Since September last year, hundreds of thousands of Togolese have staged regular protests across the country calling for Gnassingbe to step down.
But the pace of the protests has slowed in the face of restrictions imposed by the government as well as an increasing impact on business.

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First Published: Jun 27 2018 | 8:15 PM IST

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