(OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso) — President Blaise Compaore stepped down Friday after 27 years in power following a wave of protests against his rule. He said elections for a new leader will be held in 90 days.
The announcement, read out on state television, was a sharp about-face from Thursday when Compaore vowed to hold power through next year, after protesters stormed the parliament.
It was not clear who would take power immediately, but Compaore’s statement referred to an article of the constitution that states the prime minister will be in charge. Burkina Faso’s parliament was dissolved on Thursday, however, and the military has played a visible role during the crisis.
For months, an opposition coalition has been urging Compaore not to seek re-election next year, in what would have been his fifth term in power. But Compaore and his ruling party looked set to push a bill through parliament on Thursday that would have allowed him to run again.
But protesters stormed the parliament, the vote was suspended and the military announced the legislature had been dissolved and a transition government would be formed. Compaore said that he would lead the government until new elections next year.
But protesters rejected that plan and gathered again Friday demanding that Compaore step down immediately.