Togo’s leader Faure Gnassingbe has bowed to massive international pressure and resigned as president.
But he vowed to stand in upcoming elections in the West African country.
Gnassingbe was appointed president by Togo’s powerful army hours after his father died, ending his 38-year rule.
The national assembly then promptly elected him as its head – making him the legal interim president – and removed a clause in the constitution requiring him to hold elections in 60 days.
But the moves drew not only international fury but anger within the country.
Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets, demanding the reinstatement of the previous head of the national assembly.
But the final straw for Gnassingbe came yesterday when the African Union suspended Togo.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has welcomed Gnassingbe’s decision to contest the election legally and said sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States would be lifted.
In a statement he congratulated Gnassingbe for stepping down.
A member of the ruling party – Abass Bonfoh – will be acting president until the poll in two months after he was chosen as the new assembly head in a vote late last night.