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Burkina Faso Groups, Leaders Agree on Return to Civilian Rule

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Opposition parties, civil society groups and religious leaders adopted a plan Sunday for a transitional authority to guide Burkina Faso to elections after a popular uprising forced longtime President Blaise Compaore from power. Lt. Col. Isaac Zida declared himself head of state Nov. 1 after Compaore resigned and fled the country last month, following mass protests against his efforts to change the constitution to seek reelection in 2015 after 27 years in power. The West African nation is under pressure to quickly return to civilian rule or face international sanctions.

The charter agreed to Sunday, after days of talks in the capital, Ouagadougou, is due to be presented this week to Zida, the operational commander of the elite presidential guard. The document calls for the creation of a 90-member transitional parliament. An interim government is proposed, whose 25 members won't be permitted to stand in presidential and legislative elections expected to take place late next year.

"It's a text that seems to unite everyone. Now the sticking point is the choice of the man who will preside over the transition," Roch Marc Christian Kabore, head of the opposition People's Movement for Progress party, told Reuters. Zida has pledged to quickly hand over power to a civilian transitional leader. The 54-nation African Union on Monday gave the military a two-week deadline to return power to civilians or face punishment.

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— Reuters