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Burkina Faso's Compaore Claims Victory, Angers Opposition

A claim by the campaign team for Burkina Faso's long-time President Blaise Compaore that he easily won Sunday's election before results are even announced is angering his opponents. But observers are not surprised, saying the election campaign was lackluster and marked by a lack of funds for the opposition.

Opposition candidates also say there was fraud, but that it's impossible to prove, accusing Mr. Compaore of having what they call a "well-oiled system" of cheating.

His campaign manager Mafarma Sanogo denies this. She also says it's normal Mr. Compaore's team is claiming victory since they have tabulated their own results.

"The declaration of my candidate was based on data we had from the voter offices because in all the vote offices, our party, we had a lot of representatives who worked to give us quickly the result," said Mrs. Sanogo.

International observers, led by the African Union, said the voting was peaceful, orderly and apparently clean. But a lawmaker from Sierra Leone, Daouda Souleiman Camara, says he was surprised by the lack of enthusiasm.

"I did not find that here," said Mr. Camara. "I do not know whether this should be attributed to the fact that there is no money but my understanding, in the country where I come from Sierra Leone, we don't have money also, but campaign time is a period of open activity, when people are encouraged to meet and talk and discuss, play, and dance, and promote the interests of the candidate they support, that was largely absent here."

Even though there were a dozen candidates on the ballot, Mr. Compaore is largely expected to win outright in the first round. He has ruled since a coup in 1987 and a new constitutional two-term mandate is not being applied retroactively.

A resident of the capital Ouagadougou, Abdoulaye Gandema, says Mr. Compaore also benefited from a disproportionate financial advantage.

"I think it's really shocking what is happening here in terms of financial means because the gap between Mr. Compaore and the rest of the candidates is huge, it's incredible and I just can't tell," said Mr. Gandema.

Mr. Compaore's team says he benefited from internal and outside aid, because they say he is so popular. Other West African leaders have accused him of backing rebellions, a charge Mr. Compaore repeatedly faces and denies.

Early official results are expected to start coming in Thursday.