Mediators in Burkina Faso’s political crisis proposed new and more inclusive elections in November, though the military that seized power in a coup last week indicated on Sunday it still wants its general to lead the country during any transitional period.
That could prove to be a serious sticking point after the draft agreement was released late Sunday following two days of talks led by the presidents of Senegal and Benin. The proposed plan will be taken up Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, by West African member states of the regional bloc known as Ecowas.
The turmoil began on Wednesday when the military arrested Burkina Faso’s interim president and prime minister and then installed a military general as head of state a day later.
The power-grab less than a month before national elections prompted the African Union to suspend Burkina Faso, and prompted condemnation from the international community.
Mediators had expressed optimism about their progress over the weekend but on Sunday it was clear that the junta still wanted General Gilbert Diendere to remain in charge, a caveat unlikely to be accepted by other countries.
Earlier in the day, angry protesters had clashed outside the hotel where negotiations were taking place, with some shouting: “No to Diendere! No to military rule!” Others vowed their support for the new regime.
The draft agreement released by mediators late Sunday calls for the return of ousted interim president Michel Kafando, until elections no later than November 22.
An anti-coup protester (C) stands near a burning barricade in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, September 19, 2015. pic.twitter.com/TTC0m1nPyY— Reuters Africa (@ReutersAfrica) September 20, 2015
A vote had been scheduled for October 11, but the military general said after the coup that he thought that date was too soon to organise a proper election.
In a concession to the coup leaders, mediators said the plan would allow allies of ex-president Blaise Compaore to take part.
The coup leader, who is a long-time close associate of the long-time president, had cited the electoral code prohibiting former ruling party members from running was one of the main reasons for the power grab.
At least 10 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations in recent days, a worker at the Yalgado Ouedraogo Hospital in Ouagadougou said on Saturday.
Protesters in Burkina Faso late last year forced Mr Compaore from office after 27 years in power after he tried to amend the constitution to prolong his rule.