Burkina Faso MPs set two-term limit for presidents

Burkina Faso lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favour of setting a two-term limit for presidents, a year after veteran ex-leader Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular revolt for trying to extend his time in office.

The constitutional amendment adopted by the National Transitional Council, as Burkina's interim parliament is known, stipulates that presidential terms are limited to two five-year mandates.

"Under no circumstance may anyone exercise more than two presidential mandates in Burkina Faso either consecutively or intermittently," the text reads.

The president is elected for a five-year mandate and "is eligible for re-election just once", it added.

The amendment was approved by 88 of the 89 MPs present.

The move comes after Compaore provoked mass anger by seeking to change the constitution to extend his 27-year grip on power, triggering street protests that forced him to flee the country in late October 2014.

This year has also seen unrest in Burundi, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo over the suspected or confirmed attempts by leaders to remain in power after serving two terms.

To prevent future leaders of Burkina Faso from trying to cling to office, lawmakers in Ouagadougou enshrined the new amendment under provisions of the constitution that cannot be modified.

"No project or proposal to revise the constitution is admissable if it challenges the clause limiting the number and duration of presidential mandates," according to the adopted text.

The MPs also voted to abolish the proposed new Senate that Compaore tried to push through in 2013, but which never saw the light of day in the face of strong public opposition and complaints that such a body would be costly and unnecessary.