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Burkina Faso reinstates constitution, transition deal to be signed Sunday

AFP , Saturday 15 Nov 2014
Burkina Faso
Anti-government protesters set fire to the parliament building in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, October 30, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Burkina Faso took a significant step toward the return of civilian rule on Saturday as the military announced the reinstatement of the country's constitution which had been suspended with the president's ouster.

At the same time the signing of an agreement for a transitional civilian government has been pushed back by a day for "technical" reasons, a military source said.

Lieutenant Colonel Issac Zida, the army-installed leader after the October 31 resignation of president Blaise Compaore, issued a statement saying the suspension of the constitution "has been lifted... to allow for the civilian transition process now under way", and to prepare the return to normal constitutional rule.

The move will also allow Burkina's constitutional court to examine the transition charter which is to be officially signed on Sunday.

The transition agreement lays out the steps to a one-year transfer of power from the military, which took over after mass protests late last month that forced Compaore to quit after 27 years in power.

The signing ceremony by the country's army, political parties and civil groups had been expected on Saturday but was postponed because the building where it was to be held was still being repaired after damage from the demonstrations.

Also traditional leaders from the regions invited to the ceremony needed more time to travel to the capital, the source said on condition of anonymity.

"The signing of the charter has thus been pushed back to Sunday" at 4:00 pm (1600 GMT), the source said. "We want to brief our traditional leaders on our discussions."

The transition charter, akin to an interim constitution, lays out a one-year transition to civilian rule that includes appointing a temporary president and calls for elections by November 2015.

Under the deal, an interim civilian president will be chosen by a special electoral college.

The president will in turn appoint a prime minister, either a civilian or a military figure, who will head a 25-member transitional government.

A civilian will also head a 90-seat parliament, known as the National Transitional Council.

Opposition parties, civil groups, religious leaders and the military hammered out the transition pact during intense talks and unanimously voted in favour of the roadmap on Thursday.

Burkina Faso's military had faced mounting international pressure to transfer power to an interim civilian government.

Compaore, who seized power in a 1987 coup, quit under pressure from protests sparked by his bid to extend his rule by changing the constitution of the landlocked former French colony of some 17 million people.

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