In Burkina Faso, the ruling party, the Congrès pour la démocratie et le progrès (Congress for Democracy and Progress – CDP), held its conference this weekend. Unsurprisingly, the party chose President Blaise Compaoré as its candidate for the presidential election scheduled for 21 November.
In addition, the party called for Art. 37 of the Constitution to be amended. This article limits the number of presidential mandates. It states that the president is elected for a five-year term and can be re-elected only once.
Compaoré has been in office since 1987 when he took power in a coup. The Burkinabé constitution was promulgated in 1991. At that time, the Constitution stated that the presidential terms was seven years and that a president could be re-elected once. In 1997 the term limit was abolished. In 2000 a five-year term was introduced and the two-term limit was reintroduced.
Compaoré was elected in 1991, 1998 and 2005. Given the most recent amendment was passed in 2000, the term limit is taken to apply from the first presidential election after that point. So, constitutionally, he is eligible to stand again in 2010, even though there is a two-term limit and even though he has been elected three times already.
And now, looking to 2015, the ruling party wants to abolish term limits!