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Burkina Faso Goes to the Polls for Presidential Election

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore and candidate for the November 21, 2010 presidential election and his wife Chantal (C) attends a campaign meeting in Ouagadougoon, 19 Nov 2010

Voters in Burkina Faso go to the polls Sunday for a presidential election that current President Blaise Compaoré is expected to win.

President Compaoré faces five opposition candidates and one independent. His key challengers are opposition leader, Bénéwendé Sankara, who placed second in the 2005 poll, and first-time candidate, Arba Diallo, deputy mayor of the northeastern town of Dori.

Mr. Compaoré has been in power since a 1987 coup and won the last election in 2005 with 80 percent of the votes.

Voters in Burkina Faso say there is little suspense Sunday as they line up outside polling stations in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Marcel Belem says voting is the right of every citizen and he will exercise that right. Make no mistake, he says, there is nothing at stake in this election and the president will win. However, he says this vote does allow the other candidates to test their strength and he will vote for who he thinks is best for the country.

There are approximately 3.2 million registered voters in the small, landlocked West African country. It was one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 161 out of 169 on the United Nations Development Index.

In the run-up to the poll, the country's electoral commission said that it was satisfied with preparations and that national and international observers would be on hand Sunday.

Electoral commission president, Moussa Michel Tapsoba, says results of the poll will be announced by Thursday at the latest.

Mr. Compaoré's party is seeking to abolish constitutional term limits for the presidency. According to the current limit of two five-year terms that was put in place in 2002, this election would be his last.