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Compaoré, Blaise

Blaise Compaoré (blāz cŏmpôr´rā), 1951–, Burkinabe military and political leader, president of Burkina Faso (1987–2014), b. Ouagadougou. An army captain and minister of justice under President Thomas Sankara, he led the 1987 coup in which Sankara was killed, and for the next four years headed a military government. Running unopposed as a civilian, he won the 1991 presidental election. and was reelected against weak opposition in 1998, 2005, and 2010. His presidency was marked by an expanded private sector, increased foreign investment, and greater political stability, though there were conflicts with neighboring Côte d'Ivoire. There also were some democratic reforms, but Compaoré was implicated in human-rights abuses, including the death of a reporter. He resigned and went into exile in 2014 after a proposed constitutional amendment that would have ended presidential term limits led to violent protests.

See biography by J. R. Guion (1991).

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