His election announcement on Friday is an about face from his original stance last month following his hoisting into power on the death of his father.

"I have decided in the higher interests of the nation to continue the process of transition in line with the constitution of 1992 amended in December 2002 and organise the presidential election within the stipulated time of 60 days," Gnassingbe said.

"The government will make the necessary arrangements to this effect," he said, adding, "we heartily desire ECOWAS to accompany us in this electoral process."

ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States of which Togo is a member, had led the pressure on Gnassingbe to conform to the original constitution after parliament changed it to authorise him to take office and rule until 2008.