Burkina Faso names coup leader Traore as transitional president

BURKINA FASO’S military officials, political parties and civil society leaders officially designated army captain Ibrahim Traore as the country’s transitional president, two weeks after he seized power in Burkina Faso’s second coup this year.

About 300 delegates are meeting over two days in the capital, Ouagadougou, to outline plans to return the West African country to constitutional rule.

Burkina Faso is struggling with a violent insurgency waged by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that began in neighbouring Mali in 2012 and has spread to other countries south of the Sahara Desert.

The violence has killed thousands, displaced nearly two million and fuelled political instability.

Frustration over growing insecurity spurred two coups in Burkina Faso this year, and two in Mali since 2020.

Traore, the captain who led the September 30 coup, was expected to be named head of Burkina Faso’s interim government.

That was confirmed when the delegates adopted an article of a charter which said the head of the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR), the group of officers led by Traore, will be president of the transition, according to four sources in the room.

Traore has made a commitment in statements to a democratic transition timeline agreed between his predecessor, Paul-Henri Damiba, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore constitutional order by July 2024.

The new junta’s proposed transition charter is aligned with the previous one, approved during a similar meeting after Damiba seized power in January.

It states that the interim president will not be eligible to run in presidential, legislative and municipal elections marking the end of his or her mandate.

ECOWAS is struggling to facilitate a return to constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali, all of which have seen military takeovers since 2020.

The coups, including one in Chad, have raised concerns about a backslide in democracy in West and Central Africa against the backdrop of rampant Islamist insurgency.



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