Togo

Togolese president rejects opposition demands

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Lome, Togo (PANA) - Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe has rejected a list of demands submitted by opposition parties as part of negotiations for the formation of a national union government.

In a news release issued here on Tuesday night, the president's private secretary, Pascal Akoussoulelou Bodjona regretted that the opposition coalition has submitted new demands instead of proposing candidates for the post of Prime Minister.

According to the release, Faure Gnassingbe "categorically" rejected the opposition's demands "to put aside the constitution and remove the constitutional powers of the president and the national assembly."

Bodjona affirmed that the president was "accountable to the nation by virtue of the oath he took to respect the constitution and cannot therefore engage in manoeuvres aimed at violating the basic law."

However, Bodjona expressed Faure Gnassingbe's determination to form a "wider national union government" that will continue the reconciliation process, implement the 22 pledged Togo made to the European Union in April 2004.

That government will also introduce institutional reforms ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary and local government elections on a consensual basis and mutual trust, promoting the rule of law and protect human rights.

The president's office news release was issued in response to pre-conditions submitted Monday by the opposition coalition (except the main Union of Forces for Change (UFC) for its participation in the proposed union government.

The coalition called on the government to stop arresting its members, to introduce appeasement measures for the return of refugees, clearly define its role in the joint management of power.

The opposition parties also called for institutional reforms before the next parliamentary and local government polls and streamlining the relationship between the president and the national assembly.

Meanwhile, the coalition proposed that it should be consulted before the appointment of personalities to occupy top administrative, political and military positions and an end to censure by the national assembly, where the ruling party holds a majority of seats.

The president's rejection of these pre-conditions has caused a stalemate in discussions between the government and the Togolese opposition, which has also demanded the appointment of a prime from its ranks.

Pan African News Agency
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