Counting of votes in Burkina Faso is underway as voters went to polls to elect a new president and parliament. The elections were held on Sunday (29 November), after a year of turmoil that saw the removal of former president Blaise Compaore.
From the 14 presidential candidates, Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Zephirin Diabre are being considered as front runners to win the elections. Both the candidates were once close to Compaore, who resigned from office in October 2014, after a popular uprising was initiated to stop him from serving another five years in office.
The former president ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years. The 64-year-old now lives in Ivory Coast.
Diabre, an economist, was the country's finance minster until 2010. He left office due to some differences with the former president. Kabore, on the other hand, was the country's prime minister from 1994 to 1996. He too quit the chairmanship of the Congress for Democracy and Progress party (CDP) in 2014 after opposing to Compaore's plan to serve another five years in office.
Voting was initially scheduled to take place on 11 November, but was postponed after a coup attempt. They were looking to overthrow the transitional government headed by President Michel Kafando.
"It is a victory for the youth that has expressed its will for change and for real democracy," transitional President Michel Kafando was quoted as saying by The Guardian. The elections are being seen as the most democratic Burkina Faso has ever seen, as no incumbent is vying for the presidential chair.
"For the first time in 50 years there is an electoral uncertainty ... we don't know the winner in advance," said Abdoulaye Soma, the head of the Burkinabe society of constitutional law.
If no presidential candidate gets a majority, which is more than 50% of the vote, a run-off will take place. The first results of the elections were expected early on 30 November.