Voters in Burkina Faso cast their ballots on Sunday, in the first presidential and legislative election since a popular uprising toppled the West African nation’s longtime leader and launched a turbulent period of transition.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens took to the streets in October 2014, furious over then-President Blaise Compaore’s bid to scrap constitutional term limits and stay in office. Compaore resigned and fled the country, ending his 27-year rule of one of the poorest countries in the world. But the transitional government soon found itself at odds with his elite presidential guard.
With no incumbent on the ballot and the presidential guard now dissolved, candidates and analysts say the vote will be the most open and democratic in Burkina Faso’s history. “We have a real chance for democracy here,” said Tahirou Barry, one of 14 presidential candidates. “For the first time, the incumbent president is not a candidate. This leaves the voters free of pressure, and there is fair play in the process.”