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Burkina scrambles to pick interim head before sanctions deadline

(L-R) Fatiatou Lopez, opposition leaders Ablasse Ouedraogo, Benewende Sankar and Henry Ye, and Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Zida (R) pictured at the Economic and Social Council headquarters in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on November 14, 2014Burkina Faso on Sunday scrambled to pick an interim president ahead of an African Union sanctions deadline after the army seized power following the ouster of longtime ruler Blaise Compaore. Initially Paul Ouedraogo, the archbishop of the southern Bobo-Dioulasso diocese, appeared to be a frontrunner despite his reluctance but the church later announced “categorically” that he was not in the race. The choices being mulled on Sunday ranged from journalist Cherif Sy, who founded a weekly that had been bitingly critical of Compaore, former television presenter and journalist Newton Ahmed Barry, former top diplomat Michel Kafando and sociologist and ex-minister Josephine Ouedraogo. Lieutenant Colonel Issac Zida, the army-installed leader, had given the various parties until noon on Sunday to submit names to a panel of 23 mainly civilian electors, who are expected to appoint the interim leader early this week.

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