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Burkina Faso's Compaore Expects Easy Win


Polling places have closed and vote counting started in Sunday's presidential election in Burkina Faso in which long-time leader Blaise Compaore is expected to win again.
Government officials called on Burkina's voters to go the polls, calling it a civic duty.

The campaign manager for President Compaore, Salif Diallo, told VOA he was confident the call had been heeded.

"We have people in the village, in the towns, all the people are mobilized for these elections," Mr. Diallo says.

He was also confident Mr. Compaore would win again.

"I think because we have the people with us, everywhere we have the people for President Blaise Compaore," Mr. Diallo says.

Mr. Compaore is popular for defending Burkina's cotton growers on world markets, as well as developing roads, hospitals, and international events, such as the FESPACO film festival.

But also has many detractors, who want change. A main opposition leader, Norbert Tiendrebeogo told VOA after casting his vote it just is not fair for people to be saddled with the same leader since a coup in 1987.

He says power belongs to the people, and it should be returned to the people. He said he was confident he would score well in the voting.

But with 11 other opposition candidates on the ballot, the anti-Compaore vote is expected to be divided.

One of those on the ballot, Hermann Yameogo actually pulled out of the process and complained his name was being left on. He called for a boycott of the vote and organized a protest in his hometown of Koudougou, which police quickly dispersed.

He also accused the government of sending buses full of pro-Compaore voters to areas where the boycott was being effective. He called for civic disobedience after Mr. Compaore was allowed to run, despite having already won two elected mandates.

Opposition candidates had much less money to spend on the election than Mr. Compaore, and had difficulty in sending delegates to most of the polling centers.

One-thousand national and 400 international observers are monitoring. Early results are likely to trickle in this week.

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