Wednesday, 18 November 2015

BF Presidential Election - the Front-Runners

 Of the 14 presidential candidates, the two seen as front-runners are Roch (“Le Roc”) Kaboré (MPP) and Zephirin (“Zeph”) Diabré (UPC), each with about 25% of the electorate in a pre-campaign poll. If no one candidate gains a majority of the vote, run-off elections will be held around Dec. 13.
(See Backround to the Elections for some basics on the forthcoming elections on 29 November)

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.  (MPP)
“Roch” was part of ex-president Blaise Campaore’s government for many years, including a stint as Prime Minister. 

In 2014, opposed to Campaore’s bid to change the constitution to gain a third term, he left, together with two other of Campaore’s right-hand men: Salif Diallo and Simon Campaore, to form their MPP party. Their experience in government is seen by some as a plus. However, others consider their links with Campaore’s regime, including rumours of torture and corruption, to be a hindrance, and regard them with suspicion as late-comers to opposition at a time when they perceived the Campaore ship to be already sinking.   

Many think a clearer break with the past is needed. Describing themselves as “social democrats”, they have the support of 17 smaller parties, which may, in the event of a run-off, swing things in their direction.

Zephirin (“Zeph”) Diabré. (UPC)
“Zeph” was also in Campaore’s government, variously as minister of the departments of Commerce, Industry, and Finance before leaving in 1999 to take key roles in UNDP in New York, and then Areva. 

He formed his opposition party in 2010, and has been the leader of the opposition since January 2013.  Thus, although he has been in the previous regime, he is seen as being less tied to the Campaore years than Le Roc, which might work in his favour. Describing his party as “social liberal”, he is more of a free market supporter than Le Roc. 

Although supported by 10 minor parties, in the event of a run-off, some have suggested that Zeph would lose out because many of the other parties have a more socialist leaning and would tend to favour the MPP.

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