Burkina Faso profile - Leaders

  • 24 September 2015
  • From the section Africa

Interim president: Michael Kafando

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Kafando spent many years working for ousted President Compaore as a diplomat

Michael Kafando was named acting president after long-serving leader Blaise Compaore resigned in response to a military takeover amid mass protests in October 2014.

The veteran diplomat was chosen by a special panel composed of religious, military, political, civil and traditional leaders, following the signing of a charter setting out a year-long transition to elections.

Born in 1942 in Ouagadougou, the French-educated Mr Kafanda served as foreign minister from 1982 to 1983, and as permanent representative to the United Nations from 1998 to 2011.

He replaced Lt Col Isaac Zida, the head of the presidential guard, as interim leader. Col Zida then became interim prime minister.

Col Zida had declared himself acting head of state following Mr Compaore's ouster, overruling army chief Gen Honore Traore, who had initially claimed to lead a transitional government.

The opposition, civil society groups, the African Union and the United states condemned the military take-over.

Mr Kafando had to face down a serious challenge in September, when the presidential guard, which remained loyal to Blaise Compaore, briefly tried to seize power in a dispute over its proposed integration into the army.

Blaise Compaore resigned and fled to Ivory Coast after tens of thousands of people protested against his plans to amend the constitution to extend his 27-year rule.

Mr Compaore came to power in a coup in 1987 and subsequently won four presidential elections, the latest in November 2010.

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