Talks resume between Togo govt and opposition

Lome - Talks between Togo's ruling party and the opposition resumed on Friday after a month-long pause, with Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo acting as a mediator.

After an hour of debate between the two sides, Akufo-Addo decided to move to bilateral talks, meeting first with the ruling party and then with representatives of the opposition, an AFP journalist said.

The talks are aimed at resolving a political stand-off that began in August and has seen thousands take to the streets in almost weekly protests against the ruling party.

President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005, is under pressure to stand down amid calls for constitutional reform.

Talks opened on February 19 but following a second meeting four days later, they were adjourned over what the opposition said was a dispute about Gnassingbe's candidacy in the 2020 election.

Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005, when he took over on the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years.

The opposition wants a return to Togo's 1992 constitution, which set a two-term limit for presidents, applied retroactively, to prevent Gnassingbe standing in 2020 and 2025.

The opposition, which had agreed to suspend its mass protests for the duration of the talks, had on March 6 threatened to resume their street demonstrations, accusing the government of not honouring a commitment about preparations for parliamentary elections.

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