Burkina opposition head Diabre chosen to run for president

AFP , Saturday 25 Jul 2020

Burkina Faso's main opposition leader Zephirin Diabre was chosen Saturday by his party as their candidate for the presidential election in November, promising "real change".

Diabre came second with almost 30 percent of the vote in the 2015 presidential election, beaten by current head of state Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Kabore has put himself up for re-election after five years of jihadist insurgency in the West African nation.

"I solemnly swear here and now to invest my name, my body and soul in the fight for the renaissance of Burkina Faso," said 61-year-old Diabre, after accepting the nomination.

"The UPC (Union for Progress and Change) activists, at an extraordinary congress proceeded with the nomination of the candidate Zephirin Diabre for the presidential vote," said party vice-president Denis Yameogo, after the decision by 5,000 party faithful assembled in a sports hall in the capital Ouagadougou.

The country is one of the world's poorest and the insurgency has seen more than 1,100 lives lost and nearly a million people forced from their homes.

According to UN data, jihadist and inter-communal violence was to blame for 4,000 deaths last year in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

A minister under former president Blaise Compaore in the 1990s, Diabre went into opposition in 2011 and founded the UPC.

However the opposition is split ahead of the presidential vote, which plays into Kabore's hands, according to analysts, despite the catastrophic jihadist violence in the country.

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