Burkina Faso votes for new president after year of uprising

Burkina Faso votes in its first free election after long time ruler Blaise Compaore was ousted by a nationwide uprising

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Burkina Faso presidential candidate Roch Marc Christian Kabore casts his ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Ouagadougou on November 29, 2015.

Burkina Faso voted to choose the country's new president and parliament on Sunday one year after a mass uprising around the country.

Some five million people voted under tight security conditions and there were no reports of any clashes.

After the ballot boxs were closed, Barthelemy Kere, the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), announced the voting process had been "generally satisfactory."

Kere formed poll stations all day long and struggled to hold open some voting boxes until 1800GMT.

The head of the Burkinabe society of constitutional law, Abdoulaye Soma, stated, "For the first time in 50 years there is an electoral uncertainty... we don't know the winner in advance."

According to CENI, the first election outcome was expected to be announced on Monday.

Meanwhile, there were problems Sunday after many poll stations were opened late and were short of voting papers and voting boxes, but many people said they were satisfied at having the chance to elect their leader.

"I'm happy to have been able to vote. I want the candidate I voted for to take care of us," said Omar Tiemtore, a 39-year-old voter.

"This is definitely the most open election since the country's independence," said Cynthia Ohayon, West Africa analyst for the International Crisis Group.

He said, "You actually don't know who is going to win, even though there are front-runners."

After casting his vote, Michel Kafando, the transitional president, stated, “It is a victory for the youth that has expressed its will for change and for real democracy,”

Despite fourteen candidates running in the election, according to analysts two are the most likely to win: Roch March Kabore who was once prime minister under the Blaise Compare administration and businessman Zephirin Diabre.

Kabore is supported by the business elite and traditional chiefs and is a member of Burkina Faso's largest ethnic group. He said "It's going to be a first-round knock-out," and added, "The priority is good governance, along with justice."

On the other hand Diabre, an economist, has international links with the United Nations and French nuclear company Areva.

Experts say economic growth is one of the most important issues affecting people’s decisions in Burkina Faso, with a failed coup in September costing the country $50 million in lost revenue.

The election was delayed from October 11 to end of November due to the failed coup by the members of former president Blaise Compaore’s presidential guard (RSP).

Burkina Faso was ruled for 27 years by 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.

TRTWorld and agencies