Burkina Faso holds its first free election after uprising

Burkina Faso sets for its first free election to choose new president after popular uprising

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A woman votes at a polling station during the presidential and legislative election in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Hundreds of voters are lining up to vote on Sunday, in Burkina Faso’s first presidential and legislative elections since a popular uprising toppled the country’s longtime leader.

Polling stations across the country slowly opened as the sun rose in the vote to replace a transitional government.  

Presidential candidates and analysts say the vote will be the most democratic in Burkina Faso’s history, with no incumbent on the ballot and the presidential guard now dissolved.    

"We have a real chance for democracy here," said Tahirou Barry, one of 14 presidential candidates. "For the first time, the incumbent president is not a candidate. This leaves the voters free of pressure, and there is fair play in the process."

Security Minister Alain Zagre has said 25,000 soldiers and police were deployed across the country.     

More than 17,000 local and foreign observers are expected to monitor the elections.

About 5.5 million people are registered to vote, according to the election commission.

The preliminary results are expected to be released by Monday.

50 percent threshold is required for a candidate to avoid a run-off, which would be held 15 days after first-round results are finalised.  

Burkina Faso was ruled for 27 years by Blaise Compaore. Last year he was forced to resign by a huge nationwide uprising when he sought to change the constitution to stay in power for longer term.

Presidential candidate Roch Marc Kabore (c) votes during the presidential and legislative election at a polling station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso [Reuters]




TRTWorld and agencies