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Burkina Legislative Election Has Low Turnout


In Burkina Faso, voter turnout is described as low for legislative polls that the ruling party of Blaise Compaore is expected to dominate. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from our West Africa bureau in Dakar.

One of the early voters in the capital Ouagadougou was President Compaore.

He congratulated the nearly 4,000 candidates from 47 political parties vying for 111 seats, saying they had demonstrated fair-play during the campaign.

He said it is normal to have so many parties in an emerging democracy, but alliances are already being made.

Many of the parties are actually tied to the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress, which is expected to boost its current 57 seat total.

But there was little campaigning and voters were slow to pick up voting cards. Sunday, there was a low number of voters in many parts of the country.

Burkina Faso has high illiteracy and ranks near the bottom of the U.N. human-development index.

One voter said there is growing alienation between many Burkinabe and the political process.

"I think many Burkinabe people do not know what are the challenges of this election. Because they elect deputies, but they do not know exactly what they do," he said. "They see some people who are elected with big cars, strong cars, they are very rich, and they do not know what they do for people."

A representative for one of the main opposition parties, the National Union for Democracy and Development, said he had set up an anti-fraud monitoring group, and was updating journalists every hour.

He said, so far, there are several allegations of voters being caught with multiple voting cards.

During the campaign, the opposition accused the ruling party of using state funds to shower would be voters with caps, tee-shirts, bicycles, and money.

The opposition has attacked the government for rising impunity, dissension within security forces, misguided development strategies, inadequate health care, and rising poverty due to low cotton prices on international markets.

The government says it needs better representation in parliament to push forward efforts to reduce food insecurity and improve education.

Mr. Compaore has been in power since a coup in 1987, and easily won the last presidential election in 2005.

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