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Leaders of Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Since Independence

A list of the Burkinian leaders since gaining independence on 5 August 1960

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

The first president of an independent République de Haute-Volta (Upper Volta) Maurice Yaméogo had previously worked as a colonial civil servant, ultimately obtaining the post of Minister of the Interior. This put him first in line to replace the pre-independence leader (who died) on 11 December 1959. Yaméogo retained the presidency on independence on 5 August 1960, and set about ensuring his rule, banning all opposition parties. His rule was, however, ineffectual and the government was corrupt. Yaméogo was removed by a military coup in 1966. Sangoulé Lamizana headed a military government until 1970 when he started to hand over power to a civilian prime minister. But in 1973 Lamizana took power back after the economy was seriously hit by inflation.

In 1980 Colonel Saye Zerbo took power in a military coup. Zerbo was ousted in 1982 by Major Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo, who in turn was removed in 1983 by Captain Thomas Sankara. Sankara's government changed the country's name to Burkina Faso in 1984. Thomas Sankara was assassinated during a military coup on 15 October 1987. Captain Blaise Compaoré, who had been a close associate of Sankara, took power as the chairman of the Front Populaire (Popular Front). In 1990 Compaoré introduced democratic and constituional reform and led the government to an electoral win (with no opposition). In November 2010, Blaise Compaoré was re-elected for fourth term.

President of the République de Haute-Volta (Upper Volta)
5 August 1960 - 4 January 1966 Maurice Yaméogo UDV-RDA
4 January 1966 - 25 November 1980 Abubakar Sangoulé Lamizana MNR

Chairman of the Military Committee of Recovery for the National Progress
25 November 1980 - 7 November 1982 Saye Zerbo

Chairman of the Provisional Committee of Popular Salvation
9 November 1982 - 4 August 1983 Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo

Chairman of the National Revolutionary Council
4 August 1983 - 15 October 1987 Thomas Sankara

Head of State and chairman of the Front Populaire
15 October 1987 - 24 December 1991 Blaise Compaoré — / FP

President of the République du Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso)
24 Dec 1991 - Present Blaise Compaoré ODP-MT / CDP

More about the political history of Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) below.

Key to Political Parties
CDP Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès
Congress for Democracy and Progress
FP Front Populaire
Popular Front
MNR Mouvement National pour le Renouveau
National Movement for Renewal
ODP-MT Organisation pour la Démocratie Populaire - Mouvement du Travail
Organization for People's Democracy-Workers' Movement
UDV-RDA Union Démocratique du Voltaic -- Rassemblement Démocratique Africain
Voltaic Democratic Union-African Democratic Rally

History of Burkina Faso (Upper Volta)
Burkina Faso Timeline

Biographies of Burkinian leaders
Maurice Yaméogo

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