Burkina Faso held local elections Sunday seen as a key step in the country’s transition to democracy from the authoritarian rule of ousted strongman Blaise Compaore. Some 24,000 police and troops were on duty for voting day, which had initially been scheduled for January 31 but was postponed following January 15 jihadist attacks that killed 30 people in Ouagadougou. Polls closed at 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) after an election which went off without incident and results are expected to be known by the end of the coming week. Some 5.5 million people were eligible to cast ballots to elect around 20,000 municipal councillors, who will then choose mayors for 368 towns. More than 80 parties put up candidates.
The elections were the first local polls in the impoverished West African country since president Compaore was overthrown in a popular uprising in October 2014 after ruling the country with an iron fist for 27 years. The subsequent interim government dissolved all municipal councils set up under Compaore and replaced the mayors with non-elected prefects.
Presidential elections last November were won by Roch Marc Christian Kabore, a leading figure in Compaore’s ousting who had held a number of posts under the former president before falling out with him.
Kabore won 53 percent in November and was hoping his People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) would bolster his mandate with their result to see off Compaore’s Congress for Democracy and Progress (CPP) as well as Zephirin Diabre, presidential election runner-up, and his Movement for Progress and Change (MPC).