(BBC News, May 21, 2005)
The main opposition candidate in last month’s disputed elections in Togo has been flown to hospital in France after reportedly suffering a stroke.
Emmanuel Akitani Bob was flown on Thursday to a hospital outside Paris, where he is being treated for neurological problems, doctors say.
Mr Akitani Bob, 74, came second to the ruling party’s Faure Gnassingbe but says he was cheated out of victory.
He was evacuated after talks in Nigeria aimed at solving the political crisis.
A medical source in Togo’s capital, Lome, said Mr Akitani Bob had a stroke that paralysed the left side of his face and his left arm.
The Nigeria talks ended without agreement.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo – who hosted the talks in Abuja – had urged the government and opposition to form a government of national unity.
But new Togo President Faure Gnassingbe and the opposition failed to agree on the terms for a power-sharing deal.
Some 31,000 people fled Togo amid bloody protests triggered by the opposition’s claims of vote-rigging.
At least 30 people are believed to have died in the violence.
Mr Gnassingbe – whose father ruled Togo for 38 years – won about 60% of the vote in the 24 April poll, according to final results.
Mr Akitani Bob contested the elections because Union of Forces for Change leader Gilchrist Olympio was barred because he lives in exile.
Mr Olympio refused to dismiss the Nigeria talks as an outright failure.
‘Setback for opposition’
“We have not achieved our entry into a transitional government… but that doesn’t mean this is the end of the road,” Mr Olympio said.
But the BBC’s Anna Borzello in Abuja says in many ways the talks were a disappointment for the opposition.
She says Africa’s leaders at the summit clearly acknowledged Mr Gnassingbe as Togo’s president and a senior Togolese government official said his legitimacy had not been questioned.
Ecowas observers had earlier pronounced that the controversial election met generally accepted standards.
Last week, the European Union parliament rejected the election results.