Map of Burkina Faso
Map of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's government is launching a new push to end a two-term limit on the presidency.

The country's interior minister said Tuesday the government would submit a bill to parliament calling for a referendum on the issue.

Supporters of longtime President Blaise Compaore have pushed for changes that will enable him to run for re-election next year when his second term comes to an end.  

Opposition leader Benewende Stanislas Sankara said the opposition would fight the proposed referendum.

Alleges hidden agenda

Sankara said the government had a hidden agenda during recent attempts at dialogue and "today, we have proof that those in power intend to mess with the constitution."

He said they would see whether the National Assembly went along with what the people wanted or the interests of one person.  

Sankara said the opposition would employ "civil disobedience" if necessary.

Compaore, 63, has ruled Burkina Faso since seizing power in a 1987 coup.  

He won elections in 2005 and 2010 after a constitutional court ruled the two-term limit introduced in the 2000 constitution did not apply to a president already in office.

For the referendum bill to pass, the president and his allies must win a majority of votes in the 127-seat National Assembly.  

His CDP party won 70 seats in the 2012 elections but has suffered defections over the proposed constitutional changes.

An earlier version of this story used an AP wire photo with a caption incorrectly identifying the subject as President Blaise Compaore. VOA regrets the error.