Former Compaore ally elected head of Burkina Faso national assembly

Ouagadougou (AFP) –


Burkina Faso's Salif Diallo, a former right-hand man of ousted president Blaise Compaore, was elected head of the national assembly, the country's second most powerful position.

The 58-year-old was voted in by lawmakers the day after Roch Marc Christian Kabore was sworn in as the west African nation's first new leader in almost 30 years.

The two men were among the founders of the Movement of the People of Progress (MPP) party, which came top in polls last month that were seen as key to ending more than a year of political upheaval.

Both were also former close allies of Compaore, who was ousted in a popular revolt in October 2014 after trying to extend his almost three decades in power.

Diallo, who was backed by 78 out of the assembly's 127 members, called on lawmakers to fight against "the scourge of corruption (and) nepotism" in a speech to parliament.

Once considered among the most loyal of the ex-president's allies, Diallo served in various positions in Burkina Faso's government over the course of some two decades.

But in January 2014 he left to become one of the founding members of the MPP along with Kabore and other political dissidents that have become the leading figures of the opposition.

Experts said their victory showed they could bring together supporters of Compaore as well as backers of the October 2014 uprising, seen as key to forging a peaceful resolution to Burkina Faso's political crisis.