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Burkina Faso President's Party Calls For End To Term Limits

OUAGADOUGOU — The party of Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore renewed its call Saturday for the abolition of a two-term limit as it officially approved him as its candidate for elections in November.

The governing Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party said at a meeting in Ouagadougou that the constitution should be changed to allow Compaore -- who took power in a coup in 1987 -- to extend his rule until 2020.

The party "called for the suppression of the limitation of presidential mandates by the revision of article 37 of the constitution," according to a summary of the meeting read out by secretary general Marie Achille Tapsoba.

Compaore, 59, was chosen at the extraordinary meeting as the party's candidate for the November 21 election "with acclaim and unanimity", having been the clear favourite, the statement said.

Former army captain Compaore came to power in a coup in October 1987 in which his predecessor Thomas Sankara was killed.

He was then elected as president in 1991, winning further mandates in 1998 and 2005. A restriction of two seven-year terms was put in place in 1991, but lifted six years later.

Compaore was forced to reinstate a limit of two five-year terms in 2002 following violent protests sparked by the assassination of a prominent journalist.

An amendment under consideration would allow him to stand in 2015 for a further term.

His party said at its conference last year that the limit was "anti-democratic".

Two opposition candidates have already put their names forward -- Benewende Sankara, the leader of the main opposition Union for the Renaissance/Sankarist Party, and Norbert Michel Tiendrebeogo of the Social Forces Front (FFS).

In the 2005 poll, Sankara came second with 4.88 percent of the vote while Tiendrebeogo was seventh with 1.61 percent.

Roman Catholic bishops in Burkina Faso issued a statement in March warning against the constitutional change, warning that it would be a "backward step".



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