OUAGADOUGOU - Defectors from the ruling party of Burkina Faso's long-serving President Blaise Compaore have formed a new political movement to challenge him, amid concerns that he is seeking to change the constitution to stand in a planned 2015 election.
Compaore, who seized power in the gold-producing West African nation in a a 1987 coup, won an election in 2010 but his two-term mandate is set to expire next year.
The formation of the Movement of People for Progress (MPP), a social democratic party, follows the biggest opposition march in decades last week to protest against an end to presidential term limits. Opposition leaders said between 300,000 and 500,000 participated.
"What is at issue is well and truly our democratic process and political stability which are currently under threat," said the president of the new party Roch Kabore, at the party's first general assembly in the capital on Saturday.
Members of the MPP, including its president who was formerly head of the National Assembly, are drawn from the 75 politicians who left Compaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress party in a mass exodus earlier this month.
Poor, landlocked Burkina Faso is one of several African countries due to face the challenge of political transition as the terms of a batch of long-serving leaders draw to a close.
Over the next two years, the leaders of Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo are also due to step aside unless they change their constitutions.