Burkina Faso factions approve transition plan

Army reaches deal with opposition, civil groups and religious leaders on blueprint to return country to civilian rule.

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida declared himself head of state on November 1 [AP]

Burkina Faso’s army has reached an agreement with opposition parties, civil groups and religious leaders for a transition to civilian rule, almost two weeks after the ousting of President Blaise Compaore.

The different factions “unanimously voted” in favour of a transition charter on Thursday, said Henry Ye, president of the commission representing the main power players in the West African country.

“Today was the day of compromise,” said Herve Kam, a member of the Balai Citoyen civil society group. “Both soldiers and civilians agree on a civilian transition. The institutions of the transition will be led by civilians.”

The new head of state, who will not be permitted to stand in the elections, will be chosen by a special college made up of eight religious and traditional leaders and five members each from the army, opposition and civil society.

The president will then name a prime minister to appoint a 25-member government.

“The agreement is really significant, but has no time frame,” Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from the capital Ouagadougou, said.

She added that the college can complete its task “in days, or weeks or months”.

Transition charter

The charter also calls for a 90-member national transitional council to serve as a legislative body. It will be composed of 30 opposition representatives and 25 members from both the civil society and the army.

The remaining 10 seats will go to other political parties, including members of Compaore’s former ruling coalition, which did not participate in the negotiations.

Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida declared himself head of state on November 1 after Compaore resigned and fled the country last month amid mass protests against his efforts to change the constitution to seek re-election in 2015 after 27 years in power.

Zida, who has repeatedly pledged to hand over power to a civilian authority, is expected to enact the charter within days, participants in the talks said.

Our correspondent said that finding a new leader will not be easy. “I was speaking to activists on the ground, men and women who led the revolution, and they say that now the matter is in the hands of negotiators and politicans who they know could be divided, as they each have their own agendas and interests. A lot of people say this could take some time,” she said.

But Zephirin Diabre, the leader of the opposition, said: “On all the points, even where we had differences of opinion, among Burkines, we have reached a consensus. We have a charter that will be promulgated very quickly.”

According to a draft of the transition blueprint, no members of the interim regime would be allowed to stand in the next elections, scheduled for November 2015.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies