Thursday, 6 November 2014

ECOWAS presses Burkina Faso on civilian rule

Standard


Regional bloc calls on military to hand over power to
interim government for guiding country to elections
next year.
The presidents of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal have
urged Burkina Faso to appoint a transitional
government to guide the country to elections next
year following the overthrow of longtime ruler Blaise
Compaore last week .
On Wednesday, Ghana's President John Dramani
Mahama led the delegation from the West African
bloc ECOWAS to help Burkina Faso plot a path to a
civilian -led transition after the military named a
senior army officer as head of state on Saturday .
Mahama , the current ECOWAS chairman , held talks
with Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida, opposition
politicians, Compaore' s supporters, religious leaders
and civil society groups . There was a general
consensus in favour of a civilian - led interim
government, he said.
" There were going to be elections next year. We
believe that we should just work with that election
date, which is next November ," he said . " This means
there will be a transitional government for one year
and a new president will be elected ."
Mahama said that Nigerian President Goodluck
Jonathan and Senegalese leader Macky Sall , part of
the ECOWAS delegation, agreed with the timetable.
Delegates from the meetings with Mahama said that
all the separate groups had been asked to select
three candidates for the interim presidency .
Mahama said the presidents had recommended that
members of the interim authority should not be
permitted to stand in the elections next year.
Advance warning
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the
streets last Thursday when Compaore tried to force
through parliament a constitutional reform to allow
him to seek re-election next year .
He resigned the next day as the sometimes violent
protests continued and was forced to flee to
neighbouring Ivory Coast with the help of France .
Mahama said regional leaders had attempted to talk
Compaore out of the plan to change the national
charter to extend his 27 -year rule.
" When our colleague decided to do what he wanted
to do , I can assure you that several of us spoke with
him and advised that it was not a proper thing to do,"
he said.
The military stepped in following Compaore 's
departure, dissolving the National Assembly and
imposing a curfew . It then appointed Zida, deputy
commander of the presidential guard, as provisional
head of state on Saturday . He announced the
suspension of Burkina Faso 's 1991 constitution.
Amid mounting international pressure for a civilian to
take the reins of the transition , Zida promised on
Monday to quickly cede power to a transitional
government.

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