OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Captain Ibrahim Traore officially became Burkina Faso’s transition president on Friday, two weeks after taking power in the country’s second coup d’état this year, but he will not be considered for office if elections are held are held.

A national meeting of military officers, civil society and traditional and religious leaders on Friday approved a new charter for the West African country.

It states that the head of the MPSR, the ruling military junta, is the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. But the charter also states that the president will not be eligible for elections at the end of the transition period.

Burkina Faso’s latest coup, announced on state television on September 30, has raised fears that the country’s political chaos could lead to increased violence from Islamist extremists in the region. Thousands of people have already been killed by jihadists associated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group and about 2 million have been displaced.

Traore has pledged to abide by the agreement his ousted predecessor had already reached with the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who left Burkina Faso for Togo after the coup, had agreed to hold another vote by July 2024.

On Friday, thousands of people gathered outside where the meeting took place to show their support for Traore, a 34-year-old army captain who was relatively unknown before taking power.

Many waved Russian flags and said they wanted Traoré to cooperate more with Russia than with France, the former colonial power that has been helping fight jihadists in the region since 2013.

“We want Russia to come because it has been over 100 years since we were colonized. France has been on the frontline of the security situation and we see it as a failure,” said Mahamadi Sawadogo of Friendship Between Burkina Faso and Russia, a civil society group.

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Burkinabés say there won’t be much of a grace period for Traore, who should be showing results quickly.

Despite the support, however, some residents say there will be little grace period for Traore, who must succeed where his predecessors failed.

“All Burkinabe people expect results,” said Rasmane Zinba, coordinator at Balai Citoyen, a community group. “If Traoré doesn’t do that, he could be impeached like Damiba.”


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