Monday, February 07, 2005

France supports elections - in Africa 

A unilateral intervention in the making:
"France has placed its troops in west Africa on alert following the death of Togolese president Gnassingbe Eyadema.

"French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said: 'We have put our troops on alert in case a need arises'."
Goodness, a need for what? Well, mainly to protect 2,500 French nationals residing in Togo. But there's more:
"[The Minister Alliot-Marie] made it clear that 'the days of coups in Africa are over'...

"The Togo constitution must be respected, Ms Alliot-Marie said, recalling that it foresaw elections within two months [of a president's death].

" 'These must take place,' the French minister said."
Aren't you glad that France is committed to a democratic process and a fixed election timetable - if only selectively?

But as the report usefully reminds us, "[President] Eyadema had ruled for nearly four decades after Togo's independence from France." (the "Daily Telegraph" describes him as "Africa's most durable tyrant" and "an ally of President Jacques Chirac".)

Better late than never.


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