Burkina Faso junta names prime minister for ‘transition’ period

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Burkina Faso strongman Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba on Thursday named economist Albert Ouedraogo the new prime minister of the West African country.

The 53-year-old Ouedraogo, whose appointment came in a decree signed by President Damiba, has headed a consulting and auditing firm since 2007.

“The new prime minister has solid experience in the field of public administration management, development projects and private companies,” Damiba’s office said.

Damiba, a 41-year-old lieutenant-colonel, seized power on January 24, toppling elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who has been under house arrest.

Damiba was sworn in as president and head of the armed forces by the top constitutional body on February 16, and was ceremonially inaugurated as president on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Damiba signed a so-called transition charter that declared elections would be held 36 months after his inauguration.

The period was longer than the 30 months that had been proposed by a commission set up by the junta.

The charter stipulates that the president is not eligible for the “presidential, legislative and municipal elections which will be organised to put an end to the transition”.

A 71-member legislature and 25-member government led by the prime minister are being set up to ensure the transition.

Their members will also be barred from contesting the post-transition ballot.

ECOWAS cancels planned mission

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS said a mission to Burkina Faso on Thursday had been scrapped after its junta-led authorities adopted its transition charter.

In a statement, the Economic Community of West African States said it had planned to send a high-level delegation to Ouagadougou on Thursday.

The mission – which had not been publicly announced – would have been led by the bloc’s current chairman, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, flanked by President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger.

But, ECOWAS said, the visit “has been cancelled after the adoption of the transition charter”. The statement gave no further explanation, although the three-year timetable compares with previous ECOWAS demands that a “reasonable” deadline be set.

ECOWAS in its statement also said it was “very concerned” about the continued house arrest of Kaboré and issued a new call for his “immediate” release.

Burkina Faso’s military coup was the fourth in West Africa in 18 months, following two in Mali and one in Guinea, after a period of democracy that had raised hopes the region could shed its reputation as the continent’s “coup belt”.

Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission, said after an emergency summit last month that the military leaders had shown a willingness to work toward a speedy return to constitutional order.

International partners have sanctioned Bukina Faso’s western neighbour Mali for delaying planned elections. ECOWAS has also put heavy sanctions on Guinea.

The bloc said on Thursday that Guinea had failed to comply with a six-month deadline to propose an election timetable after the military seized control from former President Alpha Condé in September.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)


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