Burkina Faso voted Sunday in the first election since mass protests last year forced Blaise Compaore to step down as president after ruling Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer for almost three decades. About 5 million people were eligible to cast ballots in both presidential and legislative elections. Twelve hours of voting ended about 6 p.m. local time, and officials began counting the ballots Sunday night. Results could be announced in a few days. Most polling stations opened on time and no incidents were reported, Cecile Kyenge, head of the European Union observer mission, said in an interview.
The elections will mark the first democratic handover of power in the history of Burkina Faso, where the revolt against Compaore inspired protest movements by citizens from Burundi to the Democratic Republic of Congo who were unhappy with rulers clinging to power. The protests were led mainly by youth and civil society groups.
In a country where three-quarters of the population is under 30 years, many young people voted for the first time. The election “will bring a bit of change to Burkina Faso,” said Jocelyne Rouamba, a 20-year-old voter.