Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected

Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected
Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore at a campaign rally (Sam Mednick/AP)

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore will serve another five years as Burkina Faso’s leader, according to provisional results announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission on Thursday.

Mr Kabore won with nearly 58% of the vote, beating 12 opponents and claiming victory in the first round.

He received 1.6 million votes of the nearly 3 million cast, with voter turnout at 50%.

Supporters of president Roch Marc Christian Kabore celebrate in Ouagadougou. The president won with more than 50% of the vote (Sophie Garcia/AP)

The opposition had hoped to split the vote and deprive Mr Kabore of the 51% needed for an outright victory and then form a coalition behind the strongest candidate for round two.

But leading candidate, Eddie Komboigo, head of the Congress for Democracy and Progress, received only 15%.

The other leading rival, Zephirin Diabre, from the Progress and Change Party, who lost to Mr Kabore in 2015, received approximately 12%.

The declaration comes four days after Sunday’s election.

Newton Ahmed Barry, the president of the electoral commission said final results should be out on Saturday, which then must be verified by the constitutional court.

In an address to the nation after the results were announced, an upbeat Mr Kabore praised the democratic process, congratulated his opponents and promised to secure and unite the country.

“It’s a significant responsibility to be the president of all Burkinabe, without exception,” he said.

The opposition has accused the ruling party of foul play, including bribery.

Tahirou Barry, an opposition candidate, claimed in a press conference that the process was “riddled with fraud” and that the electoral commission was not up to the task of organising responsible elections.

Despite some reports of voting irregularities particularly in the east, this wasn’t widespread (Sophie Garcia/AP)

However, Halidou Ouedraogo, president of the organisation Codel which monitored the elections, said that while there were some reports of irregularities it wasn’t widespread.

The east was one area which attracted scrutiny after approximately 30 people voted on fake ballots because there was no ballot paper was available.

The opposition has seven days to appeal the vote. It was not immediately clear if they would.

The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States, a regional bloc, said appeals should be made through legal avenues.

Makuza Bernard, who led the AU delegation, said it was important they were made in a “calm environment and especially to avoid violence”.

He added: “We don’t need (violence). The Burkinabe don’t need that.”

The elections were held amid violence linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group that has killed more than 2,000 people this year and displaced more than one million.

While there were no reports of major attacks on election day, threats of violence prevented people from casting ballots in hard-hit parts of the country. Nearly 3,000 polling stations expected to open didn’t, preventing up to 350,000 people from voting, according to the electoral commission.

Nearly 3,000 polling stations were forced to close due to threats of extremist violence (Sophie Garcia/AP)

Many of the communities unable to vote were already marginalised and civil society organisations say the president will need to work harder in his second term to unite an increasingly divided country.

Chrysogone Zougmore, president of the advocacy group Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights, said: “He should make sure that promises not met during the last five years will be met in order to alleviate social discontent.

“The social discontent is not only happening in big towns but (it is) happening more and more in the countryside.”

The Emir of Liptako, Ousmane Amirou Dicko, who lives in the Sahel region’s Dori town said that the government must improve security so it can focus on development in violence-ridden regions.

He said this would “keep young people busy so that they no longer indulge in terrorism”.

As Mr Kabore’s supporters celebrated, opposition supporters said they’ll accept the results but expect the opposition to hold the ruling party accountable.

Paul Lengane, who lives in the country’s capital Ouagadougou, said: “There is a need to be watchful. Everyone needs to participate in managing the country.”

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