The West African nation of Burkina Faso is taking the first steps toward returning to democratic rule with the naming of an interim president.
Former Foreign Minister Michel Kafando has been sworn into the post following his selection November 17 by a special panel composed of political, military, religious, civil and traditional leaders. That followed adoption of a charter that maps out a year-long transition to elections and creation of an interim legislative chamber.
The interim government takes power from the nation’s military, which took command after public protests forced President Blaise Compoare to step down and leave the country last month. Lt. Col. Issac Zida declared himself head of state, but facing renewed protests he has pledged to step aside for civilian authority.
The United States welcomes the Charter for Transitional Government in Burkina Faso developed by political parties, civil society, and religious and traditional leaders. We urge continued progress in the discussions between these groups and the military so that this crisis may come to a quick end and the process of rebuilding Burkina Faso’s democracy may begin. We also underscore the urgency of Burkina Faso returning to constitutional rule.
Now that civil society, political parties, and the Constitutional Court are fully engaged in elaborating the mechanics of the country’s transition, we urge the men and women of Burkina Faso’s armed forces to return to their primary mission -- safeguarding the territorial integrity of Burkina Faso and the security of its citizens. At the same time, we firmly hope that the central mission of the transitional government will be to ensure effective preparation for national elections.