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A car burns outside the parliament building in Burkina Faso as people protest against their longtime President Blaise Compaore, who seeks another term in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 30, 2014 (AP photo by Theo Rena).

Compaore’s Fall in Burkina Faso Signals Trouble for Africa’s ‘Presidents for Life’

Monday, Nov. 3, 2014

On Oct. 30, after several massive demonstrations against efforts by supporters of long-serving President Blaise Compaore to remove presidential term limits, protesters in Burkina Faso set fire to the country’s parliament to prevent a vote from taking place on the issue. The next day, Compaore resigned. After what appeared to be a power struggle within the military, Lt. Col. Isaac Zida emerged as the head of a transitional government, which faces continued pressure from protesters and opposition leaders to hand over power to civilians. The situation remains fluid.

The protests that swept Campaore from power drew on longstanding grievances and were catalyzed by political machinations in advance of a presidential election initially scheduled for 2015. They are not, as some analysts have wondered, the first indication of an impending “African Spring.” Yet the unrest in Burkina Faso does signal that 2015 will be a year of contentious politics in several sub-Saharan African countries where pre-existing tensions will intersect with elections. ...

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