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Togo revises constitution to allow succession by son of late President

[JURIST] The son of late President Gnassingbe Eyadema [official profile in French] was sworn in as the new president of the African state of Togo [government website in French] Monday after the country's parliament altered its constitution to permit his succession. Citing a need to eliminate any power vacuum and ensure a peaceful transition of power after Eyadema's almost 40-year rule, the longest of any African head of state, the Togolese army had installed Faure Gnassingbe [BBC profile] as interim president Saturday after the announcement of his father's death, but the move was met with an international outcry, as the country's constitution called for the speaker of the National Assembly to become interim president until provisions could be set up to hold a new election. On Sunday, the Togo National Assembly responded by electing Faure as Speaker, entitling him to his already appointed post, and further modifying the constitution to remove the need for interim elections, instead allowing Faure to serve out his father's term until 2008. The head of the African Union [official website] has nonetheless persisted in calling the events in Togo "a military coup d'etat" and has been joined by the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS [official website] in calling for a return to the proper constitutional process spelled out for the transition of power. Sources also say that the EU may withdraw aid [News24 report] from Togo unless constitutional procedures are followed. Read the Togo government website's announcement of Faure's swearing-in [in French].

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