Tags: Burkina | politics | crisis

Burkina's Interim Leader Set for Swearing in

Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 07:23 AM

Career diplomat Michel Kafando was set to be sworn in as Burkina Faso's interim president on Tuesday to steer the west African nation during a one-year transition back to civilian rule following the toppling of its veteran leader.

A red carpet was rolled out during hectic last-minute preparations at the hall hosting the ceremony, which was due to start at 11:00 am (local and GMT) and be broadcast live on television.

The appointment of the former foreign minister and UN ambassador on Monday ended weeks of uncertainty after violent protests late last month brought down the 27-year regime of president Blaise Compaore and the military seized power.

Ahead of the ceremony, the army-installed leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida was awarded the country's top honour normally reserved for heads of state, the Order of the Grand Cross.

Kafando, who will officially take over power from Zida on Friday, was chosen after tortuous negotiations between the military, political parties and civil society groups.

He is barred from standing in elections scheduled to next year under the transitional deal.

His appointment early Monday came ahead of a deadline imposed by the African Union, which had warned the impoverished country would face sanctions unless it chose an interim leader.

 

 

"It is an awesome responsibility that falls to me, I already foresee the pitfalls and the immensity of the task," the 72-year-old Kafando had told reporters after his appointment.

Kafando, who was chosen by a panel of 23 officials, will be charged with appointing a prime minister, either a civilian or a military figure, who will head a 25-member transitional government.

A civilian will also head a 90-seat parliament, known as the National Transitional Council.

According to a draft of the blueprint, no members of the interim regime will be allowed to stand in the November 2015 election.

Mass unrest erupted in Burkina Faso in late October over Compaore's bid to change the constitution, which would have allowed him to extend his rule of the former French colony.

Protesters set the parliament building ablaze and attacked other official premises in the capital and other cities in violence not seen since a wave of army mutinies in 2011.

Compaore was only 36 when he seized power in a 1987 coup in which his former friend and one of Africa's most loved leaders, Thomas Sankara, was ousted and assassinated.

He held on to power in the following decades, being re-elected president four times since 1991.

His foiled attempt to extend his rule had been closely watched across Africa, where at least four heads of state are considering similar changes to stay in power, from Burundi to Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Compaore has taken refuge in neighbouring Ivory Coast where he is living in a luxury villa.

Known in colonial times as Upper Volta, the country won independence from France in 1960 and its name was changed to Burkina Faso -- "the land of upright men" -- in 1984.

 

 

© AFP 2017

 
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Career diplomat Michel Kafando was set to be sworn in as Burkina Faso's interim president on Tuesday to steer the west African nation during a one-year transition back to civilian rule following the toppling of its veteran leader.A red carpet was rolled out during hectic...
Burkina, politics, crisis
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2014-23-18
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 07:23 AM
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