Togo forms new government
Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe named a new cabinet on Thursday after October polls. The multiparty legislative elections were hailed as a success by foreign observers such as the European Union, which resumed cooperation with Togo after a 14-year suspension.
Gnassingbe's party won 50 of 81 parliamentary seats in the October 14 polls, while the UFC took 27 and the smaller Action Committee for Renovation (CAR) of former Prime Minister Yawovi Agboyibo won just four. RPT party stalwart and former Towns Minister Komlan Mally will take over as premier.The new cabinet cut the total number of ministers to 21 from 35 and excluded the president's brother, former Defence Minister Kpatcha Gnassingbe, widely seen as a challenger for power.
The EU, once Togo's biggest donor, froze aid to the country in 1993, citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, an archetypal African "Big Man" who ruled Togo for four decades.
Togo was once one of West Africa's most prosperous states until its economy nosedived in the 1990s, mainly due to political unrest. A downturn in cotton production and weaker rice, bean and groundnut crops have also taken their toll.