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ECHOES OF THE SAHEL - Burkina Faso Elections Special Edition

27 November 2020

Your overview of the latest Clingendael research and open source news & reports related to the greater Sahel region. Feel free to forward this newsletter, subscribe here. See our Sahel Programme for our experts, latest research & events.
Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso. February 2009, Rita Willaert / Flickr

This week's news round-up

In this week’s special focus on Burkina Faso’s general elections, incumbent president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won Sunday’s presidential elections in the first round with 57.87% of the vote. Several opposition candidates have made allegations of voter fraud, and have seven days to appeal the vote. While provisional legislative results are yet to be announced, four appeals for annulment of the elections were filed to the Constitutional Council by the political party ‘Nouveau Temps Pour la Démocratie’ (NTD) in the  Centre-Ouest region. Following a change to the electoral code in August, polling stations were allowed to stay closed in cases of insecurity. In consequence, over 300,000 people were unable to vote in the elections. Ibn Chambas, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahel, ECOWAS, and African Union representatives have all commended the peaceful conduct of the electoral process. Ibn Chambas further urged opposition candidates to take legal measures in the event of disputed results, while the African Union observation mission recommended that further dialogue be organized between political actors. Burkina Faso’s elections took place in a context shaped by heightened insecurity, mass displacement, economic decline and the COVID-19 pandemic. Violent attacks in northern and eastern Burkina Faso by violent extremist groups such as Ansaroul Islam, JNIM and ISGS and self-defence militias have claimed over 2,000 lives so far this year, making 2020 the deadliest year in the past decade. President Kaboré is set to serve his second term for five years, and vowed on Thursday to strengthen dialogue and tackle insecurity in the country.

Election results

Burkina Faso president Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected

AP, 26 November
Roch Marc Christian Kabore will serve another five years as Burkina Faso’s president, according to provisional results announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission on Thursday. Kabore won with nearly 58% of the vote, beating 12 opponents and claiming victory in the first round, said Newton Ahmed Barry, the commission’s president. Kabore received 1.6 million votes of the nearly 3 million cast, with voter turnout at 50%, he said.

Présidentielle : la réélection contestée de Kaboré, dans un Burkina Faso sous pression djihadiste

Le Monde, 27 November
Une victoire sans effusion. Après plus de trois jours d’attente sans véritable suspense, un décompte au compte-gouttes et de nombreux cafouillages, le verdict des urnes est tombé, jeudi 26 novembre. Le président sortant du Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a été réélu, à l’issue d’un scrutin qui s’est déroulé dans le calme mais a été, dans certaines zones, émaillé de difficultés en raison de la menace terroriste et de problèmes logistiques.

«Désarroi», «coup de massue»: au Burkina Faso, déception dans les rangs de l'opposition

RFI, 27 November
Le président sortant, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a remporté la présidentielle dès le premier tour au Burkina Faso avec 57,87% des voix. Il devance Eddie Komboïgo (15,48%), dont c’était la première candidature. Celui-ci portait les couleurs du CDP, le parti de l’ancien président Blaise Compaoré. Un parti qui n’avait pas eu le droit de se présenter en 2015. Si la formation qui a dirigé le pays pendant 27 ans retrouve une place dans le jeu politique, les militants restent déçus par ce résultat. Tout comme ceux de l’UPC de Zéphirin Diabré, troisième du premier tour (12,46%).
More news, reports, and commentaries
  • Burkina : Les quatre chantiers prioritaires du président réélu Roch Kaboré / Le Faso
  • Présidentielle de 2020: l'opposition prend acte des résultats provisoires et se réserve le droit de faire des recours / Fasozine
  • Présidentielle au Burkina Faso: Roch Marc Christian Kaboré réélu pour un second mandat / RFI


2020 General Elections in Burkina Faso

International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 19 November
The November 22 general elections, along with municipal elections scheduled for May 2021, have the potential to reinforce the positive precedents of the credible, competitive 2015-16 elections – considered by many observers to be the country’s first in almost 30 years. If well managed, inclusive and credible, these elections could open the door to greater citizen engagement in the political process, improved government accountability and strengthened precedents and norms that will be essential for the long-term health of Burkinabè democracy. Therefore, these elections constitute a rare window of opportunity for democratic consolidation and progress in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso’s voters should be offered more than security

Institute for Security Studies, 18 November
Just days before campaigning closes ahead of Burkina Faso’s 22 November presidential and parliamentary elections, candidates are still overwhelmingly focused on security challenges. This is a legitimate area of public concern, but doesn’t reflect the security, development and humanitarian issues that define the country’s current crisis.

Burkina Faso elections, another box to check

Policy Center for the New South, 19 November
There is a legitimate and genuine concern about the upcoming elections in Burkina Faso. The current situation hints at possible spoilers, mainly VEOs through attacks against polling stations and convoys related to the elections. Security reinforcements by state forces and vigilante groups are increasing to secure areas where voting has not been canceled, but this is unlikely to deter VEOs. The exclusion of certain municipalities does not also necessarily mean that the other municipalities will be safe for candidates and voters.
More news, reports, and commentaries
  • Burkina Faso goes to the polls against a background of insurgency  / RFI
  • Presidential elections in Burkina Faso amidst inter-community tensions, pandemics and jihadism / Atalayar
  • Security Tops Concerns as Burkina Faso Prepares to Vote / VOA
  • More than 3 million people facing acute food insecurity as Burkina Faso grapples with COVID-19 and conflict / World Food Programme
  • Burkina Faso Election Excludes Hundreds of Thousands of Displaced People    / VOA

Election controversies

Burkina Faso’s Elections to Proceed Without the People

Global Risk Insights, 21 November
A change to the electoral code for impending elections in Burkina Faso raises concerns over the country’s future, in a region that is seeing a growing trend of incumbent politicians engineering political systems to remain in power. 

Burkina Faso counts votes after threat of violence disrupts polls

Aljazeera, 23 November
While there were no reported incidents of major attacks, threats of violence prevented hundreds of thousands of people from casting ballots in hard-hit parts of the country, in the North, Sahel and East regions.

Elections du 22 novembre 2020 : Le Conseil constitutionnel a reçu six recours

Burkina 24, 26 November
Six recours sont  déjà pendants devant le Conseil constitutionnel à la date du 26 novembre 2020. Ces actions sont introduites contre essentiellement les élections législatives
More news
  • Invité Afrique: A. Karim Saidou (Burkina): «L’insécurité était le thème clé parmi d’autres préoccupations» / RFI
  • Burkina Faso: mise en garde de l’opposition contre «des résultats entachés d’irrégularités» / RFI
  • Résultats provisoires de la présidentielle 2020 au Burkina Faso : L’opposition “prend acte” / Burkina 24
  • List of communes reportedly not taking part in elections / MENASTREAM, 20 November
  • On the Campaign Trail in Burkina Faso, Opposition Candidates Promise Dialogue with Jihadists, Kaboré Says No / Sahel Blog

(Inter)national responses

L’ONU félicite le Burkina Faso pour la tenue des élections présidentielle et législatives

A Ouaga, 27 November
Le représentant du secrétaire général de l'ONU pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest et du Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a salué mercredi, le Burkina Faso pour la tenue des élections présidentielle et législatives du 22 novembre 2020.

Burkina Faso/Elections : l’Union africaine félicite les autorités et recommande un dialogue entre les acteurs politiques

Mali Actu, 26 November
La mission d’observation des élections de l’Union africaine a félicité mercredi le Burkina Faso pour son organisation des élections présidentielle et législatives de dimanche dernier et a recommandé un dialogue entre les acteurs politiques.

Elections couplées : La délégation de la CEDEAO félicite le peuple Burkinabè pour le bon déroulement du scrutin

Burkina 24, 23 November
Le président du Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a reçu en audience ce lundi 23 novembre 2020 à Ouagadougou, la mission d’observation des élections, de la Commission économique des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO), conduite par l’ancien Premier ministre de Guinée Conakry, Kabiné Komara. La délégation est venue féliciter le président Kaboré et toute la classe politique burkinabè, pour le bon déroulement des élections.
More news, reports, and commentaries
  • Elections 2020 au Burkina Faso : 4 candidats félicitent Roch Kaboré / Burkina 24
  • Présidentielle 2020 au Burkina : Le Pr Abdoulaye Soma du Soleil d’avenir qualifie le scrutin de désastre électoral / Le Faso
  • Isaac Zida : “Ce à quoi nous avons assisté n’est rien d’autre qu’un braquage électoral” / Burkina 24
  • Déclaration du HR/VP Josep Borrell concernant les élections tenues le 22 novembre au Burkina Faso / Fasozine
  • Elections présidentielle et législatives: « Le dépouillement s’est déroulé sans ingérence », Bénard Makuza, observateur en chef de l’UA / Sidwaya
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