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Burkina Faso - 2020 Elections

The state is absent in the "three borders" region between Burkina, Niger and Mali. The territory is at the mercy of jihadist forces that have spread across large swathes of the three Sahel nations. Burkina first came under attack in 2015 from groups that have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. The Constitutional Council has acknowledged that an election cannot take place in almost one-fifth of Burkina's territory because of "the presence of terrorist groups in places, the absence of the administration in affected zones, the abandonment by the population of places where they lived."

The G5 Sahel Joint Force, a regional military body backed by the United Nations, was deployed in 2017, adding troops from Chad and Mauritania to those of the "three borders" nations. The force, which has yet not had major effect, is also supported by 5,000 troops as part of France's Operation Barkhane, as well as the fledgeling European force Operation Takuba.

Burkina Faso is a constitutional republic led by an elected president. In 2015 the country held peaceful and orderly presidential and legislative elections, marking a major milestone in a transition to democracy. President Roch Mark Christian Kabore won with 53 percent of the popular vote, and his party–the People’s Movement for Progress – won 55 seats in the 127-seat National Assembly. National and international observers characterized the elections as free and fair.

Significant human rights issues included unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government, including extrajudicial killings; forced disappearance by the government; torture by the government; arbitrary detention by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; widespread corruption; and crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of national, racial, and ethnic minorities.

Armed groups connected to violent extremist organizations, including Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim, Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), and homegrown Ansaroul Islam perpetrated more than 300 attacks that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths as well as the death of government security forces. In the protracted conflict with terrorist groups, members of the security forces engaged in numerous extrajudicial killings. The Koglweogo, a vigilante justice/self-defense group, carried out numerous retaliatory attacks, resulting in at least 100 civilian casualties.

The 2015 electoral code approved by the National Transitional Council stipulated the exclusion of certain members of the former political majority. The code stated that persons who “supported a constitutional change that led to a popular uprising” are ineligible to be candidates in future elections. In July 2018 the National Assembly passed a new electoral law that allows all political candidates to run for election and opened the vote to members of the Burkinabe diaspora in possession of a national identity card or passport.

On 3 May 2016 Amnesty International awarded Ambassador of Conscience Award 2016 to singer Angélique Kidjo. For the first time, the NGO has also rewarded three African citizen movements: Ye are fed up in Senegal, the Citizen Broom in Burkina Faso , and the Lucha in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On 25 May 2016 the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published the results of the municipalities confirming the low participation. The governing party obtains the majority of the seats of municipal councilors. The party of former President Blaise Compaoré is in third place in terms of the number of councilors' seats obtained in the 365 communes where voters have been able to vote.

On 02 October 2016 came the inauguration of the memorial dedicated to the captain President Thomas Sankara, assassinated on October 15, 1987 with the aim of putting forward the history, the ideals of the father of the revolution, to create a place of memory, of recollection.

On 15 December 2016 the armed forces underwent an attack against a detachment of anti-terrorist forces in Nassoumbou some thirty kilometers from the Malian border. The result was 12 deaths and many materials destroyed.

On 30 January 2017 in the north of the country, several schools were visited by armed men who had come to demand that teachers abandon the current program in favor of the teachings of the "Qur'an and Islam". On 27 February 2017 Baraboulé and Tongomaël police stations in the north of the country were attacked by the men of Ansarul Islam, the radical preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko. In the same province, near the border with Mali, on 3 March, a school principal and a villager were shot dead by alleged jihadists.

On 10 March 2017, teachers, education workers and students walked silently through the streets of Ouagadougou to pay tribute to the headmaster of the Kourfayel school, Salif Badini, who was shot dead on 3 March by armed men. The march ended with a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Education where a message was sent to Minister Jean Martin Coulibaly. In several cities and towns of the country, teachers also demonstrated to demand more security measures in northern Burkina Faso.

The cabinet of Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore made a surprise resignation 19 January 2019 with no clear explanation for the move. This had also Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba step down from his post. No reason was given for the move, which was announced in a televised statement by the country’s president. Thieba, an economist, had held the position since January 2016 when he was nominated by President Kabore. His government had faced growing pressure over a rise in the number of kidnappings and jihadist attacks. Recent high-profile disappearances of foreign nationals have led to direct calls for Thieba’s resignation, as well as that of his defence and security ministers. In his statement, President Kabore expressed his gratitude for their service. The president said he hoped to form a new government soon. As a result of a January 24 government reshuffle, President Kabore established the Ministry of Human Rights and Civic Promotion, separating it from the Ministry of Justice, which previously was charged with overseeing human rights.

Unlike its neighbors, Burkina Faso’s presidential election on 22 Novemer 2020 is not overshadowed by constitutional disputes. However, the security situation has dramatically declined in this nation of around 20 million people. Jihadist attacks in the wider Sahel region spread into the north and east of Burkina Faso over the previous five years, claiming more than 1,200 lives and forcing around a million people from their homes. The declining security situation sparked a nostalgia for the stability the country enjoyed under former strongman, Blaise Compaoré, who ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years before his ouster in a 2014 popular uprising. Compaoré – or "Beau Blaise" (Beautiful Blaise) as he was nicknamed in his youth – was living in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast. But his shadow loomed large over the 2020 campaign trail.

There’s a kind of disillusionment after having placed so much hope in the post-Blaise Campaoré era. Faced with the deteriorating security situation, the lack of economic prospects, there’s sometimes nostalgia. Some voters who were fundamentally anti-Campaoré are now wondering whether it was worth the effort. The political climate is quite bleak and there’s not much excitement about the polls. The majority of people have no real hopes of change with this election. They are already struggling to cope with daily life. Concerns revolve around the cost of living and access to basic necessities. There are many internally displaced people and that the Covid-19 epidemic has affected many activities.

The frontrunner in the election, President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, campaigned on a platform of "peace and victory for our people". But mounting terror attacks and jihadist victories during his five years in office undermined his election promises. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has been criticised for the security situation. He’s also criticised for relying too much on clientelistic networks. He has campaigned on the development of infrastructure and roads, especially in areas where jihadist groups operate.

Kaboré faced a stiff challenge from Zéphirin Diabré, a former Burkinabe finance minister and runner-up in the 2015 presidential election. The 2020 campaign would have seemed like a 2015 re-run were it not for a newcomer among the 12 presidential candidates. Eddie Komboigo, a 56-year-old wealthy accountant, is standing on a ticket for the CDP (Congress for Democracy and Progress) – Compaoré’s party. Yéli Monique Kam, a businesswoman and the only female candidate in the race, says she's running for the future of her country since she's distraught to see fellow citizens dying on the frontlines of the war against armed groups.

Kabore secured a landslide victory in his bid for a second term, according to election results announced 26 November 2020, after a campaign dominated by his record on fighting a bloody jihadist offensive. Kabore gained a large outright majority in the first round of Sunday's presidential election, obviating the need for a runoff ballot, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said. "Mr Kabore... with 57.87 percent of the vote, is provisionally elected president of (Burkina) Faso in the first round," CENI chief Newton Ahmed Barry said.

Once perceived as a stable West African nation, Burkina Faso’s fate is now closely tied with that of the wider Sahel region, where 5,000 French troops were deployed under Operation Barkhane, cooperating with a fledgling European Operation Takuba force. The campaign was marked by violence and a climate of fear. The campaign was suspended on November 11, when 14 soldiers were killed in a road ambush. An MP’s vehicle was also targeted a few days earlier, killing the driver. The death of Sorgho Wendtoin served as a brutal reminder of the difficulty of holding a national election in a country where large areas remain outside the state's control due to a grinding jihadist insurgency. There was a divide between urban centres – which were well secured and where voters were able to go to the polls – and the rural areas where, in many places, people were not be able to go to the polls.

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Page last modified: 24-01-2022 20:12:56 ZULU