Authorities in Burkina Faso named former foreign minister Michel Kafando as transitional president in a key step towards guiding the West African country to elections in the wake of a brief military takeover.

Kafando was chosen as part of a charter hammered out after long time President Blaise Compaore was toppled on October 31 following mass protests, only to be replaced a day later Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida.

Kafando will name a prime minister to appoint a 25-member government, but will be barred from standing at elections planned for late next year.

"The committee has just designated me to guide temporarily the destiny of our country. This is more than an honour. It's a true mission which I will take with the utmost seriousness," Kafando said on Monday.

Kafando was preferred to the other candidates, which included journalist Cherif Sy and sociologist and ex-minister Josephine Ouedraogo.

He was selected by a committee of 23 officials.

The committee, drawn from the army, traditional and religious groups, civil society and the political opposition, selected him from among five candidates after a closed-door meeting that began on Sunday and went into the early hours, witnesses said.

Kafando's appointment will now have to be ratified by the Constitutional Council.

The African Union gave Zida two weeks to re-establish civilian rule or face sanctions and on Saturday he restored the constitution suspended when Compaore was overthrown.

Compaore was a regional power broker and a Western ally, but many opposed his efforts to change the constitution that would have allowed him to stand for re-election next year and extend his 27-year rule.

Kafando, 72, was also ambassador of Burkina Faso at the United Nations and for one year president of the Security Council, one of several senior posts he held during Compaore's presidency.

His candidacy was proposed by the army.

Source: Agencies