OUAGADOUGOU - Voters in Burkina Faso have voted Sunday for a new president and parliament in what is being called the country's most open election in its history.
Five million registered voters were eligible to select from among a slate of 14 presidential candidates, including two women.
Twelve hours of voting ended when polling stations closed about 6 p.m. local time. Officials have begun counting the ballots, with the first results expected late Monday. If no single presidential candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round of voting will be held.
Just over a year ago, massive popular protests across the country forced then president Blaise Compaore to resign and flee the country, after he tried to change the constitution in order to extend his already 27-year rule.
For voter Mohammed Ouedraogo, voting is the continuation of that fight.
He said he was very, very proud to vote today. He said voting today is a form of fight, "just like we fought to get these people out," he said.
Under Compaore's rule, voter Amadou Ouanga was old enough to vote but never did. Today, he was among the first in line.
Ouanga says it is the first time that he is voting. He says now that Burkina Faso has a real democracy, this is why we come out to vote.
Hotly contested election
Voter Alain Columbo said there are two parties who are head-to-head in this election. He said that they can feel it will be tight, not like before, when everyone knew for sure the leading party was going to win the elections.
The two frontrunners are the longtime opposition leader Zephirin Diabre and former prime minister Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
Voter Issa Korhogo said he hoped everything goes well.
And he said he hoped voters elect a president in the name of all the Burkinabe, so that the situation in the country can go back to normal.
Security was tight with close to 25,000 security personnel deployed across the country. Analysts say a run-off vote is likely.