Burkina Faso’s latest coup leader becomes transitional president

By Sam Mednick The Associated Press

Supporters of Burkina Faso’s latest coup leader Capt. Ibrahim Traore gather outside the National Assembly waving Burkina and Russian flags as Traore was appointed Burkina Faso’s transitional president in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Friday Oct. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Kilaye Bationo)

Capt. Ibrahim Traore officially became Burkina Faso’s transitional president Friday, two weeks after he seized power in the country’s second coup this year, but he will be ineligible to run for the office when elections are held.

A national assembly that included army officers, civil society organizations, and traditional and religious leaders approved a new charter for the West African country Friday.

It states that the head of the MPSR, the ruling military junta, is the president and supreme chief of the armed forces. But the charter also stipulates that the president is not eligible to run in elections at the end of the transition period.

Burkina Faso’s latest coup, announced Sept. 30 on state television, has raised fears that the country’s political chaos could result in more violence from the region’s Islamic extremists. Thousands of people already have been killed by jihadis linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group and some 2 million people displaced.

Traore has promised to stick to the agreement that his ousted predecessor already had reached with the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS. Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who left Burkina Faso for Togo after the coup, had agreed to hold a new vote by July 2024.

On Friday, thousands of people crowded outside where the assembly was taking place to show their support for Traore, a 34-year-old army captain who was relatively unknown before coming to power.

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