Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Burkina Faso Presidential Election 2015 - the background

The elections will be held on 29 November - the first elections without an incumbent president running - and thus also the first time there will actually be a change of president through election. 

The presidential elections are for a 5-year term (maximum two terms allowed), and will run concurrently with legistaltive elections. There are 14 presidential candidates. If no one candidate gains a majority of the vote, run-off elections will be held around Dec. 13.

Ex-president, Blaise Campaore, ruled for 27 years, following his overthrow of Thomas Sankara, "Africa's Che"and Sankara's assassination in 1987. Campaore was himself overthrown in a popular uprising at the end of October 2014 after his attempts to change the constitution to allow him to run for another term.

A transitional government, headed by Michel Kafando led the country for the next year, leading the country back towards democratic elections. The original date for the election this year was 11 October 2015, but this was put back following a coup d'etat on 16 September 2015 by Campaore's presidential guard, who took Kafando and prime minister Zida hostage. Once more the Burkina population rose up and, supported by the Burkinabe traditional and religious leaders, media, and army, faced down the heavily armed RSP. The coup was overthrown, and Kafando set the transition back on course for elections on 29 November. 

Several candidates were barred from standing in the presidential elections for having either supported the coup, or the attempt to change the constitution. This included members of ex-president Campaore's party, the CDP.

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