Polls Open in Burkina Faso Presidential Election


Presidential and parliamentary elections commenced on Sunday in Burkina Faso, one year after a violent public uprising that forced President Blaise Compaore out of office.

A report from Ouagadougou noted that two out of 14 candidates have emerged as favourites.

It said one was the 58-year-old, former Prime Minister, Roch Kabore, of the People’s Movement for Progress, while the other was the 56-year-old Zephirin Diabre, former Finance Minister, of the Union for Progress and Change.

Compaore had planned to modify the constitution to allow him extend his 27-year rule.

Thousands of people had protested in the capital Ouagadougou against the plan, which was cancelled amid violence and pillaging, while Compaore fled the country.

A transitional government was put in place with a fresh election set for October, but a coup attempt led by Compaore loyalist General Gilbert Diendere in September delayed the vote.

Diendere, who led the 1,200-member presidential guard in taking interim President Michel Kafando captive, has since been taken into custody by government forces.

Campaigning in the run-up to the elections has been incident-free since the coup.

Kabore, who left Compaore’s party out of opposition to extending his rule, was regarded as the forerunner against Diabre.

Both candidates have promised to boost economic growth in the agriculture-driven economy, which has a population of about 17 million.

The former French colony in West Africa, known as Upper Volta until 1984, was a low-income country, with per capita income at 670 dollars in 2013.

The UN’s Human Development Index ranked Burkina Faso the 181st out of 187 countries in 2014.

Nearly 5.5 million voters are registered to vote.

The electoral rule indicated that if none of the candidates receives 50 per cent of the vote, a second round would be held about eight days after the results, which are expected on December 5. 


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