Burkina Faso transition deal to be signed today

Burkina Faso transition deal to be signed today

Saturday, November 15, 2014 12:52 am

Burkina Faso's Lieutenant-Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida: power deal to be signed

Burkina Faso’s Lieutenant-Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida: power deal to be signed

Burkina Faso’s army, political parties and civil groups will sign an agreement on Saturday for the west African nation’s return to civilian rule after the ouster of its long-serving president.

“We feel we have really accomplished something and we are naturally very happy,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida, who the army put in power after Blaise Compaore was forced out of office on October 31 by mass protests.

The transition charter, akin to an interim constitution, lays out a one-year transition to civilian rule that includes appointing a temporary president and calls for elections by November 2015.

Delicate negotiations had already begun on Friday in Burkina Faso’s capital city Ouagadougou over who the country’s next leaders will be, including the president, the head of the interim parliament and the prime minister.

Under the deal, an interim civilian president will be chosen by a special electoral college.

The president will in turn appoint 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.

Opposition parties, civil groups, religious leaders and the military hammered out the transition pact during intense talks and unanimously voted in favour of the roadmap on Thursday.

The head of the negotiating committee, Thomas Ye, said he was very proud of the rapid drafting of the crucial document.

“It’s really wonderful ..that it happened so quickly. We expected it to take much longer,” said Ye, who handed the charter over to Zida on Friday.

Burkina Faso’s military has faced mounting international pressure to transfer power to an interim government.

Compaore quit under pressure amid protests sparked by his bid to extend his 27-year rule by changing the constitution of the landlocked former French colony of some 17 million people.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people of Burkina Faso on the consensus adoption of a Charter of the Transition, which will provide the legal framework for a civilian-led transition culminating in elections in November 2015.

In a statement attributed to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he looked forward to the signing of the Charter, the designation and installation of a civilian Transitional President, and the commencement of the work of the Transitional organs.

“The Secretary-General commends all Burkinabe stakeholders for their collective engagement and sense of responsibility throughout the national dialogue process. He reiterates his encouragement to all parties to continue to use dialogue throughout the transition period,” said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

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