Burkina Faso begins talks on transition to civilian rule

Burkina Faso commenced a two-day national dialogue on Saturday, aiming to transition from military to civilian rule amidst ongoing jihadist violence.

“We have a date with history,” said government minister Emile Zerbo, reading out a message on behalf of junta chief Captain Ibrahim Traore at the opening ceremony broadcast on national television.

The military has controlled Burkina Faso since 2022, following two coups justified largely by persistent insecurity in the country. Jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have been waging an insurgency since 2015, resulting in thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions.

An initial national dialogue established a charter that appointed Traore as president, and formed a government and legislative assembly.

The transition to civilian rule was set to last 21 months, with the deadline expiring on July 1. However, Traore has expressed concerns about the feasibility of holding elections due to the precarious security situation.

This weekend’s talks include representatives from civil society, the security and defense forces, and lawmakers from the transitional assembly. It remains unclear if political parties will participate.

One participant mentioned that the discussions will focus on potentially extending the transition period by up to three and a half years from July 2. Additionally, the eligibility of Traore in a future election will be a topic of debate.

Scroll to Top