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Togo Opposition Suspends Leader over Power-Sharing Deal

Gilchrist Olympio (March 2010 file photo)

Togo's main opposition party has suspended its long-time leader for agreeing on a power-sharing deal with the ruling party, which it accuses of stealing power.

The Union of Forces for Change issued a statement saying it has decided to temporarily suspend Gilchrist Olympio and all those taking part in the deal with the ruling Rally for the Togolese People.

The UFC said the agreement goes "against the interests of the party and the aspirations of the Togolese people."

The decision came late Friday, one day after Olympio said he had entered an agreement with the ruling party that would give the UFC at least seven ministerial posts in the government, including in the foreign ministry.

UFC supporters have staged weekly demonstrations to protest the outcome of the March presidential election won by incumbent Faure Gnassingbe.

The UFC's candidate in the election, Jean-Pierre Fabre, says there were irregularities during the vote, including ballot box stuffing.

Togo's previous presidential election in 2005 was marred by allegations of fraud and post-election violence that killed hundreds of people.

Observers from the Economic Community of West African States say this year's vote was fair but expressed concern about the reliability of vote totals reported to the national election commission.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.