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Burkina Faso President Breaks With Past in Naming Cabinet

  • Reuters

FILE - Roch Marc Kabore, winner of Burkina Faso's presidential election, celebrates as supporters gather outside his campaign headquarters in Ouagadougou, Dec. 1, 2015.

FILE - Roch Marc Kabore, winner of Burkina Faso's presidential election, celebrates as supporters gather outside his campaign headquarters in Ouagadougou, Dec. 1, 2015.

Burkina Faso's newly elected President Roch Marc Kabore broke with the past Wednesday by naming a cabinet packed with ministers who had not served under the previous administration.

A government statement said 25 of the 30 ministries were headed by people with no track record under veteran leader Blaise Compaore, who was overthrown by a popular protest in October 2014.

The appointments came less than a week after the president named little-known economist Paul Kaba Thieba as his prime minister.

Kabore has promised to improve access to water, health care and education in a landlocked country that produces cotton and gold but remains impoverished.

The president, elected in November, kept the security post of defense minister for himself, as well as minister of veterans affairs, in a hint at lingering security concerns.

Soldiers from the elite presidential guard staged a short-lived coup against the transitional government in September, during which they took the president, prime minister and cabinet members hostage.

The ex-mayor of the capital, Ouagadougou, was appointed head of territorial administration, while Rosine Coulibaly, who was initially in the running for prime minister, was named head of the ministry of economy, finance and development.

Former journalist Alpha Barry was named head of foreign affairs and regional cooperation. Seven women were appointed to government positions, the highest number in decades.

Burkina Faso's economy has slowed because of lower global commodity prices and reduced investment during the democratic transition that began after Compaore fell.

Also, sensitive political decisions must be made after interim authorities charged a prominent general with the murder of a previous president and issued an international arrest warrant for Compaore, who fled after being toppled.

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