News / Africa

Analysts: Burkina Faso President Unlikely to Extend Term

Burkina Faso incumbent President Blaise Compaore signs document after casting ballot at polling station during legislative, municipal elections, Ouagadougou, Dec. 2, 2012.
Burkina Faso incumbent President Blaise Compaore signs document after casting ballot at polling station during legislative, municipal elections, Ouagadougou, Dec. 2, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
Nearly a week after Burkina Faso's opposition staged the largest demonstrations in decades to protest the ruling party's attempt to abolish constitutional term limits, analysts are saying President Blaise Compaoré is likely to face an uphill battle if he wishes to stay in office beyond next year.
 
Compaoré, who first came to power in a 1987 coup and then served two seven-year terms, most recently won a 2010 election to serve his final elected five-year term under a constitution that dates to 2000.
 
Burkina Faso opposition protesters on streets of Ouagadougou, January 2014 (Z. Wanogo/VOA).Burkina Faso opposition protesters on streets of Ouagadougou, January 2014 (Z. Wanogo/VOA).
x
Burkina Faso opposition protesters on streets of Ouagadougou, January 2014 (Z. Wanogo/VOA).
Burkina Faso opposition protesters on streets of Ouagadougou, January 2014 (Z. Wanogo/VOA).
As Compaoré approaches the final year of his term, his Congress for Democracy and Progress party is now accused of attempting to revise Article 37 of the constitution, which limits presidents to serving two five-year terms.
 
According to Meluleki Mthembu, a researcher at the African Democratic Institute, changing the constitution will prove more challenging than it has been in the past.
 
“It will be very difficult. I mean, already the situation gives him certain pause on amending the constitution because the citizens are against that move," he said. "But the difference between 2000 and the current 2015 elections is that in 2000 Burkina Faso was a different country from now. Now, people, the citizens of Burkina Faso, seem to be more aware of their rights.”
 
While protests against constitutional amendments have so far been peaceful, Mthembu says the country could experience a great deal of upheaval if the president tries to run in the upcoming elections, scheduled for November 2015.
 
Mathias Hounkpe of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) says the protests show the population won’t tolerate more changes to Article 37, and will continue to pressure the parliament to take their side.
 
“This is the first time in Burkina Faso when we are seeing this level of protests against the constitutional review of the provisions on the limitations, on the number of mandates, the number of terms," he said. "People don’t want him to stay anymore. When we look at, for instance, what the people are saying during the demonstrations last Saturday, they were saying that, after 26 years, that’s enough now, that he can step down now and let somebody else take over.”
 
Another indication that Compaoré would fail in upcoming elections: the recent resignation of more than 70 members of the ruling party, who have since aligned themselves with the opposition. 
 
Compaoré has not made any public declarations about his 2015 intentions, but some experts say the entire West African sub-region is closely watching to see what his next move will be and how citizens will react.
 
According to Hounkpe, the outcome of Burkina Faso's 2015 polls could affect how things play out in neighboring countries such as Benin, where President Boni Yayi has proposed an amendment to a constitution that currently bans third presidential terms.
 
“So, for all of West Africa it is a good signal ... to see that citizens can prevent such things to happen.”
 
Following the opposition-led rallies last Saturday, the government issued a statement saying it remains open to political dialogue. Opposition leaders say they will continue their campaign to get Compaoré to step down next year.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs