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General Gnassingbe Eyadema formerly Étienne Eyadema(born 1937), is the President of Togo. He has been head of state since 1967 and is the world's longest serving president. His original given name was Etienne, which he africanized in 1974. He served in the French army (1953–1961) before entering the armed forces of Togo, where he became chief of the general staff, in 1965. He seized power in 1967 and assumed the offices of president and minister of national defense. A national conference in 1991 attempted to force him from power, but army violence forced Eyadema's restoration in 1992.