Burkina Faso junta defends three-year plan for transition to constitutional rule

Burkina Faso junta defends three-year plan for transition to constitutional rule

Politics

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Screengrab from Burkina Faso's state TV on January 24, 2022, when Captain Sidsoré Kader Ouedraogo (C), spokesman for the junta, announced a military takeover.
Screengrab from Burkina Faso’s state TV on January 24, 2022, when Captain Sidsoré Kader Ouedraogo (C), spokesman for the junta, announced a military takeover. © Radio Télévision du Burkina (RTB) / AFP

Burkina Faso’s ruling military junta on Thursday defended plans to take three years to transition back to constitutional rule despite pressure by West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS to hold elections sooner. 

ECOWAS leaders last month told juntas in Burkina Faso and Guinea they had until April 25 to explain how and when they would hand back power to civilians within a reasonable timeframe or face immediate sanctions.

Burkina Faso’s military government, in power since a January putsch, had previously said it needed 36 months to restore democratic rule, citing security concerns caused by an Islamist insurgency.

It missed the April 25 deadline and asked ECOWAS for more time.

“Everything will depend on the situation on the ground and ECOWAS heads of state are very aware of this,” interim foreign affairs minister Olivia Rouamba said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We have maintained our position,” she said in response to a question about the transition period, adding negotiations with ECOWAS were ongoing and the bloc was understanding of the context.

ECOWAS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Burkina Faso has so far been spared economic and financial sanctions imposed on Guinea and Mali, where a junta has also been in power since August 2020.

Guinea, whose government was toppled in September, has yet to lay out election plans. ECOWAS on Wednesday said it would send missions to both Burkina Faso and Guinea in preparation for a summit.

(REUTERS)

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