12th July, 2012
Togo’s president has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo, the presidency announced on state television late Wednesday.
No reason was given for Houngbo’s resignation, which came amid a series of protests launched by a coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, Let’s Save Togo, that have led to dozens of arrests.
“On Wednesday, the prime minister presented his resignation and that of his government. The president of the republic accepted it,” said the statement from the office of President Faure Gnassingbe.
A former United Nations undersecretary general, Houngbo was nominated to the prime minister’s post in September 2008 by Gnassingbe, a member of the family that has ruled the small west African nation for four decades.
Gnassingbe took over the presidency in 2005 following the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years with an iron fist.
Last month, several thousand people gathered in the capital Lome over changes to the electoral law opposition members say were forced through by the dominant governing party.
Security forces broke up a demonstration on June 13 with tear gas, and the opposition claimed 119 people were wounded over two days.
Togo’s former colonial power France has condemned the violence and urged measures to ensure transparent and peaceful polls, which are expected to be held in October, although no precise date has yet been given.
Let’s Save Togo has argued more time was needed for reforms to be carried out before the vote.