Burkina Faso extends military rule by five years

The military had promised elections in July to restore civilian rule, but it also said security would take priority.

Ibrahim Traore
Burkina Faso's military leader Ibrahim Traore [File: Vincent Bado/Reuters]

Burkina Faso’s military rulers will remain in power for another five years after national talks ended in agreeing to extend the transition back to democracy by 60 months from July, according to the text of an approved new charter.

“The duration of the transition is fixed at 60 months from July 2, 2024,” Colonel Moussa Diallo, chairman of the organising committee of the national dialogue process, said after the talks on Saturday.

The new charter was signed during what was originally a two-day national dialogue that began earlier on Saturday, ostensibly to chart a way back to civilian rule in the country rocked by political violence.

The military seized power in a 2022 coup and had promised to hold elections in July of this year to restore civilian rule, but it also said security considerations would take priority.

“The elections marking the end of the transition may be organised before this deadline if the security situation so permits,” the new charter, signed by military leader Ibrahim Traore, states.

The charter also allows Traore to run for president when the elections take place.

Under the new accord, quotas will also no longer be used to assign members of traditional parties seats in the assembly. Instead, “patriotism” will be deemed the only criterion for selecting deputies.

Civil society representatives, security and defence forces and lawmakers in the transitional assembly took part in the talks in Ouagadougou, boycotted by many political parties.

The delay is likely to deepen concerns about democratic backsliding in Western and Central Africa, a region which has seen eight coups over the past four years.

In Burkina Faso, armed groups have waged a rebellion since 2015 that has killed thousands and displaced millions. The military government in the country has struggled to address its security challenges – the reason it said it took over power in September 2022.

The government has severed military ties with former colonial ruler France and turned to Russia instead for security support. About half of Burkina Faso’s territory remains outside of government control.

Source: News Agencies