Burkina Faso chooses Michel Kafando as interim president

November 17, 2014 7:56 am
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Burkina Faso's military leaders/AFP
Burkina Faso’s military leaders/AFP
Ouagadougou, Nov 17 – Veteran diplomat Michel Kafando has been chosen as Burkina Faso’s interim president, officials in the west African country announced Monday and will head the country until 2015.

Kafando was selected after several hours of negotiation, which had begun the previous day.

The 72-year-old described the appointment as “more than a honour”.

“It is an awesome responsibility that falls to me, I already foresee the pitfalls and the immensity of the task,” he told reporters.

Kafando previously served as the country’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2011. He was also Burkina Faso’s foreign affairs minister between 1981 and 1982.

A panel of 23 officials, mainly civilians, chose Kafando after preferring him to the other candidates, which included journalist Cherif Sy and sociologist and ex-minister Josephine Ouedraogo.

Initially Paul Ouedraogo, the Catholic archbishop of the southern Bobo-Dioulasso diocese, appeared to be a frontrunner despite his reluctance, but the Church later announced “categorically” that he was not in the race.

“The consensus candidate is Michel Kafando,” said Ignace Sandwidi, a representative of the Catholic Church, which was involved in the discussions to find a new leader.

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

It comes ahead of a deadline imposed by the African Union, which instructed Burkina Faso to establish interim institutions and pick an interim president by Monday or face sanctions.

Elections are scheduled to be held in November next year, returning the country to civilian rule after long-time ruler Blaise Compaore was ousted in October.

Initially Paul Ouedraogo, the Catholic archbishop of the southern Bobo-Dioulasso diocese, appeared to be a frontrunner despite his reluctance, but the Church later announced “categorically” that he was not in the race.

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