In Burkina Faso, counting is underway after voters went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president and parliament. It is a crucial vote for the country, just over a year after a popular uprising ousted president Blaise Compaore, who ruled the country for 27 years.
Voting went peacefully as people cast their ballots in a historic poll aimed at consolidating democracy in the West African nation.
Voter Margerite Nonguierma said she was very happy and proud to be voting. For the first time, I'll be able to really choose the candidate I want, she said.
A little more than a year ago, massive protests forced president Compaore to resign and flee the country after his bid to change the constitution in order to seek another term after 27 years in power.
Fourteen candidates are vying to be the next president. The three frontrunners are longtime opposition leader Zephirin Diabre, former prime minister and Compaore's stalwart-turned-dissident Roch Marc Christian Kabore, and lawyer Benewende Sankara.
Staff at a polling station count ballots in the presence of observers from various organizations and political parties, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 29, 2015. (Photo - E. Iob/VOA)
The results are expected to be tight, with a good possibility of a second round run-off. But voter Seydou Compaore (not related to Blaise Compaore) does not think this is a cause to worry about possible acts of violence.
He said the mere fact that there was a popular uprising means that the people will accompany the transition to democracy. Whoever wins, if the voting was transparent, I don't think there will be any problem, he said.
Turnout figures are expected to be high. Long lines of voters were observed in the capital city, Ouagadougou, even before polling stations opened.
Halidou Ouedraogo, president of the CODEL, a group of civil society organizations that deployed 6,000 observers across the country, said no major incidents were observed.
I believe the conditions for a transparent vote have been met so far, and we should be able to validate the results, he said.
Close to 25,000 security personnel were deployed for this election. The electoral commission said it intends to announce the results sometime Monday.
A man looks through a window as votes are about to be tallied at a polling station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, November 29, 2015. (Photo - E. Iob/VOA)