Reluctant archbishop favoured as Burkina transition leader

A Catholic archbishop emerged today as a consensus candidate to serve as Burkina Faso's interim president after the ouster of longtime ruler Blaise Compaore, sources close to the process said -- despite his own misgivings.

AFP| Updated: Nov 16, 2014, 20:18 PM IST

Ouagadougou: A Catholic archbishop emerged today as a consensus candidate to serve as Burkina Faso's interim president after the ouster of longtime ruler Blaise Compaore, sources close to the process said -- despite his own misgivings.

Paul Ouedraogo, the archbishop of the southern Bobo-Dioulasso diocese, was on the shortlist of army, opposition and civil society groups in the west African nation.

But Ouedraogo himself told French radio last week: "I don't anticipate it. The cleric doesn't engage in this kind of power."

Opposition and civil society groups are hoping that the Vatican will allow Ouedraogo to lead the west African country during a one-year transition period leading up to elections in November 2015.

Lieutenant Colonel Issac Zida, the army-installed leader, had given the various parties until noon today to submit names to a panel of 23 mainly civilian electors, who are expected to appoint the interim leader early this week.

An army official told AFP the nomination should occur "Monday at the latest", while opposition leader Zephirin Diabre, a member of the electoral college, expected the interim leader to be known by tonight.

The African Union on November 3 issued an ultimatum to Burkina Faso to establish interim institutions and pick an interim president by Monday or face sanctions following Compaore's October 31 ouster and the army takeover.

The electoral college met for the first time early today in the capital Ouagadougou. Members will interview the candidates ahead of a working session set for 6 pm (2330 IST).

The army also backs former diplomat Michel Kafando and Josephine Ouedraogo, a sociologist who served as family development minister in the 1980s.