ECOWAS heads of government agree on immediate elections in Burkina Faso

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on Thursday agreed on the immediate lifting of the suspension of the constitution and holding of presidential and legislative elections within 12 months in Burkina Faso.

The agreement was one of the resolutions reached by the leaders during their meeting on Wednesday to find ways of resolving the lingering political crisis that culminated in the resignation of the country’s former President, Blaise Compaore, and the dissolution of his government.

The chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, who is also the President of Ghana, John Mahama, said the lifting of the suspension on the constitution would enable the Constitutional Council to declare a power vacuum and the next steps for the formation of a transitional government.

The leaders, who also included Presidents Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Macky Sall of Senegal, called for the “urgent designation by consensus of a suitably eminent civilian to lead the transition.”

A communiqué at the end of the meeting said an agreement was also reached for the formation of a transitional government for a period of one year.

The agreement would pave the ways for a draft time table for the organization of presidential and legislative elections by November 2015 to guarantee the security of all Burkinabe, including political party leaders, members of the defunct government and National Assembly.

The leaders, the communiqué said, also agreed on the need to guarantee the protection of human rights and individual choices; initiation of an all-inclusive consultation among political party leaders, representatives of civil society organizations, religious and traditional leaders as well as the national arms forces to develop the structure and composition of the transition organs.

Recalling the contributions of Burkina Faso to the promotion of global peace and security as well as political stability within the region and Africa at large, particularly its active participation in peace keeping and mediation processes, the leaders urged the stakeholders to embrace dialogue in order to define a coherent and consensual transition arrangement.

While condoling with the bereaved families, the leaders also sympathized with the victims of the uprising of October 30 and commended the country’s armed forces for their professionalism in maintaining security, law and order and for their positive role in the effort to initiate a civilian-led transition process.

During the visit, the ECOWAS leaders met with the leaders of the country’s political parties, representatives of civil society, religious and traditional leaders, members of the armed forces, as well as the chairman and members of the Constitutional Council.

They are expected to report the outcome of the visit to the ongoing two-day Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for Accra, Ghana, on Thursday.


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