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Burkina Faso Extends Military Governance by Five Years

The military government in Burkina Faso, which had initially pledged to hold elections in July to reinstate civilian rule, has now decided that security concerns will take precedence.

According to a newly approved charter, Burkina Faso’s military leaders will retain power for an additional five years, following national discussions that concluded with a decision to extend the transition period to democracy by 60 months from July. Colonel Moussa Diallo, head of the national dialogue organizing committee, announced, “The duration of the transition is fixed at 60 months from July 2, 2024,” after the talks on Saturday.

The new charter was signed during a two-day national dialogue, intended to establish a plan for returning to civilian governance in a country troubled by political violence.

The military, which took control in a 2022 coup, had promised to conduct elections in July of this year to restore civilian rule but had also emphasized that security would be prioritized.

“The elections marking the end of the transition may be organized before this deadline if the security situation so permits,” the new charter, signed by military leader Ibrahim Traore, states. Additionally, the charter permits Traore to run for president when the elections are eventually held.

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Under the new agreement, quotas will no longer be used to allocate seats in the assembly to members of traditional parties. Instead, “patriotism” will be the sole criterion for selecting deputies.

Representatives from civil society, security and defense forces, and members of the transitional assembly participated in the talks in Ouagadougou, although many political parties boycotted the event.

This delay in elections is expected to heighten concerns about democratic regression in Western and Central Africa, a region that has experienced eight coups over the past four years.

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Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been plagued by an armed insurgency that has resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions. The military government has faced significant challenges in addressing these security issues, which it cited as the reason for seizing power in September 2022.

In response to these challenges, the government has cut military ties with its former colonial ruler, France, and sought security assistance from Russia. Currently, about half of Burkina Faso’s territory remains beyond government control.

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