Report: Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso elections: A new constitution, judiciary to deal with Compaore, says presidential candidate Diabre

Presidential election frontrunner Zephirin Diabre addressed a campaign rally in Ouagadougou on Wednesday attended by some 10,000 supporters ahead of Burkina Faso’s landmark polls. Diabre told RFI he will propose a new constitution if elected and will leave the issue of former president Blaise Compaore, who currently resides in Abidjan, to the justice system.

Daniel Finnan

Burkina Faso needs a “new national philosophy”, Diabre said in an interview on the sidelines of his Union for Progress and Change (UPC) party’s rally at Ouagadougou municipal stadium. “Thinking about our history and culture and see how it can be the bedrock for new development of the country.”

“Two main priorities in my programme – youth and women – which I believe need to play a stronger role in the country,” he said. Policies aimed at fighting corruption and developing the economy were also key elements, Diabre added.

Despite the transitional government having made several changes to the country’s constitutional since the ousting of Compaore in a popular uprising, Diabre said he would propose a new constitution. This would take into account changes during the transition, but ultimately put it to a referendum for the people to decide.

On the issue of Compaore, who is reportedly living in Abidjan, Diabre said any action against Burkina Faso’s former strongman “belongs to the justice system” because “as a head of state you shouldn’t infer”.

Diabre, a former UN Development Programme official, is considered one of the frontrunner’s in Sunday’s vote alongside Roch Marc Christian Kabore of the People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) party.

UPC’s rally in Ouagadougou on Wednesday afternoon is part of a series of campaign events leading up to the polls which feature 14 presidential candidates. The elections had originally been scheduled for 11 October but were delayed by a failed coup attempt that threatened to derail elections entirely.

Many UPC supporters at the campaign rally hope that Diabre will do more to help the Burkinabe youth, especially following their role in the October 2014 streets protests that led to the toppling of Compaore.

“He’ll take into account the concerns of young people,” said Alexandre Mathieu Bassolé, a young UPC supporter at the municipal stadium. “He’s a very good president, a future president.”

During the rally Diabre told cheering supporters that the decision was in their hands. “We must act to build a new Burkina,” he said, “a Burkina of real change.”

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