Kabore wins Burkina Faso presidential election

Roch Marc Kabore elected president of Burkina Faso according to statement issued by Independent National Electoral Commission

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Presidential candidate Roch Marc Kabore (C) arrives to vote during the presidential and legislative elections at a polling station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in this November 29, 2015

Roch Marc Kabore was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election in Burkina Faso and will become the country's first new leader in decades, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Tuesday.

The election of the former prime minister represents a pivotal moment for a West African nation that has been ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

Kabore was also president of the National Assembly under President Blaise Compaore, who was toppled by an uprising in October 2014 after 27 years in power. He split with Compaore early last year and formed an opposition party.

Provisional results from Sunday's election showed Kabore won 53.5 percent of the vote to defeat former Finance Minister Zephirin Diabre, who scored 29.7 percent, and 12 other candidates, the electoral commission said. Turnout was about 60 percent.

"This election went off in calm and serenity, which shows the maturity of the people of Burkina Faso," Barthelemy Kere, president of the electoral commission, told a news conference. The outright majority means there will be no run-off.

Compaore seized power by force and won four elections, all of which were disputed. He was toppled by protests when he tried to change the constitution to extend his rule even further.