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Opposition In Burkina Disappointed By Election Results


Opposition parties in Burkina Faso are disappointed by their poor results in the country's recent parliamentary election. But they say the results are not yet final and that they will contest some of the results. President Blaise Compaore's ruling party won a landslide victory according to the results released Saturday. Selah Hennessy reports from VOA's West Africa bureau in Dakar.

Opposition parties in Burkina Faso say their poor results in the May 6 election are due to unfair electoral laws and state-funded propaganda for the ruling party.

Mr. Compaore's party, the Congress for Democracy and Progress, or CDP, was awarded 73 of 111 seats in official results released Saturday.

This will be an improvement from the 57 seats the CDP held in the previous assembly.

The remaining 28 seats were divided between twelve opposition parties.

Sidiki Belem is a member of the main opposition grouping, a coalition of two parties, which won 14 seats in the election.

Belem says that there is not complete democracy in Burkina Faso, and that the electoral laws must be changed to make the system more fair.

The opposition has said changes made to the electoral code in 2004, which increased the number of electoral districts in the country, gives the government an unfair advantage because smaller parties are unable to field candidates and polling observers in every one.

Ousmane Ouedraogo is from another grouping of two parties, which won four seats in the election.

He says the results were worse than his party expected. It is one more seat than in the last election, but he said this was a small consolation.

Ouedraogo says the results may still change, because there have been some electoral disputes that will be contested in election tribunals. Opposition parties have up to five days to do so.

During the election campaign, opposition parties complained that the ruling party was using state funds to lavish potential voters with gifts, including caps, T-shirts, bicycles, mopeds and money.

There have also been allegations of voters being caught with more than one voting card.

Ruling party officials say they won the election because they are the strongest party.

Jean-Leonard Compaore is the CDP campaign director.

He says the opposition makes a lot of noise in the media, but the real reason they lost the election is because they do not have a strong foothold throughout the country.

He says CDP dominates because it is everywhere, in every town and every village.

President Compaore has been in office since seizing power in a 1987 coup.

His party says they will use their larger representation in parliament to reduce food insecurity and improve education in the country.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, with almost half the population living on less than $1 a day.