Burkina Faso gets civilian president, first time in decades

Kabore's election will mark an end to the transitional government put in place after Blaise Compaore, was toppled in a popular uprising late 2014.

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Newly elected Burkina Faso President, Roch Marc Kabore (C) arrives to vote during the presidential and legislative election at a polling station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Penney
Newly elected Burkina Faso President, Roch Marc Kabore (C) arrives to vote during the presidential and legislative election at a polling station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Burkinabes celebrated on the streets across the country as soon as election results were results. Poised to win the polls, 58-year-old Roch Marc Kabore, a former prime minister under Compaore who later broke ranks with the exiled ex-president, had just been declared winner and so will be Burkina Faso’s first civilian president in over five decades.

Addressing his party supporters following the announcement of final results, Kabore did not miss the opportunity to promise a better Burkina Faso under his leadership. He pledged to open more opportunities for millions of Burkinabes for a “better tomorrow.”  “Together we must serve the country,” he said.

Kabore, who managed to grab around 53% of the votes cast in Sunday polls, is giving hope to many of the Burkinabes who want him to tackle youth unemployment, restore stability, improve the country’s health sector, rid the public service of corruption and enhance investor confidence.

“We must get to work immediately,” he told several thousand supporters outside his party headquarters in the early hours of Tuesday.

Barthelemy Kere, Head of the Independent National Electoral Commission, described the election as “generally satisfactory” despite “a few anomalies” and said turnout was strong in all of the country’s 45 provinces.

Kabore’s election will mark an end to the transitional government put in place after Blaise Compaore was toppled in a popular uprising late 2014.

Kabore’s nearest rival Zephirin Diabre, who gunnered 29.65%, conceded defeat before the results were released.

For many 18 million people in Burkina Faso, this is the first time their country will be headed by a civilian leader. Periodic coups have characterised Burkina Faso change of leadership formula. Many are hoping this election will usher in a new phase of peace and democracy.

This election that ushered in Kabore, had to be postponed, for a month, after a coup by the presidential guard in September.

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