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Blaise Compaoré

Assumed office 
15 October 1987
Prime Minister Youssouf Ouédraogo
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré
Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo
Tertius Zongo
Preceded by Thomas Sankara

Born 3 February 1951 (1951-02-03) (age 59)
Ouagadougou, Upper Volta
Political party CDP
Spouse(s) Chantal Compaoré
Religion Roman Catholic

Blaise Compaoré (born February 3, 1951[1][2]) has been the President of Burkina Faso since 1987. He is the founder of the ruling political party, the Congress for Democracy and Progress. He has been implicated in the murder of Thomas Sankara, his predecessor, in the 1987 coup. He was elected President in 1991, in an election that was boycotted by the opposition; he was re-elected in 1998 and 2005.


Participation in 1987 coup

He took power on October 15, 1987 in a bloody coup that killed Sankara, his predecessor as head of state. Compaoré described the killing of Sankara as an "accident"; however, this claim is widely disputed. Upon taking the presidency, he reverted many of the policies of Sankara, claiming that his policy was a "rectification" of the Burkinabé revolution.

Soon after he became President he also eliminated two major revolutionary leaders, Henri Zongo and Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani, accused of plotting against the regime. Blaise Compaoré's liability in connection with the assassination of Sankara has been the object of the first complaint against Burkina Faso, lodged by Mariam Sankara, Thomas Sankara's widow. In April 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee issued a damning condemnation of Burkina Faso's failure to investigate the circumstances of Thomas Sankara's death (and prosecute those responsible for Sankara's death).[3]

President Compaoré and his Presidential Guard have been implicated in the death of reporter Norbert Zongo in December 1998 and continued intimidation of the media in Burkina Faso, according to the international organization Reporters Without Borders. The Norbert Zongo murder allegations highlighted one of the only times that Compaoré's power has been truly questioned and jeopardized.[4]

1991 election

Compaoré was elected president in 1991; main opposition parties boycotted in protest to the questionable means Compaoré used to take office in the first place, surrounding the murder of Sankara. In this election, only 25% of the electorate even participated, emphasizing tremendous political instability and protest amongst the masses.[5] In 1998 he was re-elected for the first time. In August 2005, he announced his intention to contest the next presidential election. Opposition politicians regard his 2005 re-election bid as unconstitutional due to a constitutional amendment in 2000 limiting a president to two terms, and reducing term lengths from seven to five years, thus barring Compaoré from seeking a third term. Compaoré's supporters disputed this, saying that the amendment could not be applied retroactively.[6] Notwithstanding opposition objections, in October 2005 the constitutional council ruled that because Compaoré was a sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply until the end of his second term in office, thereby allowing him to present his candidacy for the 2005 election.

2005 election

On November 13, 2005, Compaoré was re-elected as President, defeating 12 opponents and winning 80.35% of the vote. Although 16 opposition parties announced a coalition to unseat Compaoré early on in the race, ultimately nobody wanted to give up their spot in the race to another leader in the coalition, and the pact fell through.[7] He has proposed a "National Reconciliation" that is not widely supported by his opposition.

Following Compaoré's victory, he was sworn in for another term on December 20, 2005.[8]

International and regional roles

In 1993, President Compaoré headed the Burkina-Faso delegation which participated in the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development.[9]

Compaoré has been active as a mediator in regional issues. On July 26, 2006, he was designated as the mediator of the Inter-Togolese Dialogue, which was held in Ouagadougou in August 2006[10] and resulted in an agreement between the government and opposition parties.[11] He has also acted as mediator in the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, brokering the peace agreement that was signed by Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and New Forces leader Guillaume Soro in Ouagadougou on March 4, 2007.[12]

He is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

Views on abstinence, AIDS and NGOs

In an interview with the magazine Famille Chrétienne, President Compaoré asserted that the notion of sexual abstinence was not a monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church and that European NGOs who disagreed with traditional morality were profiting from the situation in order to intervene in regional African affairs.[13]


  1. ^ Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders (2003), page 76–77.
  2. ^ "Biographie du président", website of the Presidency (French).
  3. ^ United Nations Human Rights Website - Treaty Bodies Database - Document - Jurisprudence - Burkina Faso
  4. ^ Thomson Gale Product Failure
  5. ^ Thomson Gale Product Failure
  6. ^ "BURKINA FASO: Compaore's decision to bid for re-election raises opposition hackles", IRIN, August 11, 2005.
  7. ^ Thomson Gale Product Failure
  8. ^ "Mme Brigitte Girardin a représenté la France à la cérémonie d’investiture de M. Blaise Compaoré (Ouagadougou, 20 décembre 2005)", French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (French).
  9. ^ Japan, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MOFA): 28 African nations
  10. ^ "Inter-Togolese dialogue resumes in Ouagadougou", (, August 9, 2006.
  11. ^ "TOGO: Political agreement aims to end 12-year feud ", IRIN, August 21, 2006.
  12. ^ "COTE D'IVOIRE: New peace agreement", IRIN, March 5, 2007.
  13. ^ Famille Chrétienne

See also

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Sankara
President of Burkina Faso
1987 – present
Preceded by
Dawda Jawara
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States
1990 – 1991
Succeeded by
Dawda Jawara
Preceded by
Mamadou Tandja
Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States
2007 – 2008
Succeeded by
Umaru Yar'Adua
Preceded by
Robert Mugabe
Chairperson of the African Union
1998 – 1999
Succeeded by
Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Simple English

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