Burkina Faso Has First Democratic Handover of Power Since 1960

  • Former Prime Minister Kabore beats challenger Diabre
  • Members of Compaore's party banned from running in vote

Burkina Faso elected Roch Marc Christian Kabore as president in the first democratic handover of power since the West African nation gained independence from France more than half a century ago.

Kabore, a former prime minister, received 53.5 percent of the votes cast, compared with 29.7 percent for challenger Zephirin Diabre, according to the electoral commission. Diabre conceded defeat and offered his congratulations to Kabore in a posting on Twitter.

Burkina Faso held elections on Nov. 29, a year after a mass revolt ended President Blaise Compaore’s 27-year rule and forced him to flee to neighboring Ivory Coast. Africa’s fourth-biggest gold producer and the continent’s largest cotton grower had already experienced four coups before Compaore seized power in the wake of the 1987 assassination of Thomas Sankara, an army captain who gained Africa-wide fame for his revolutionary leadership style.

The interim government that organized the elections barred members of the former ruling party from participating. Kabore, 58, quit the former ruling party and founded the People’s Movement for Progress after criticizing Compaore’s plans to extend his rule in an open letter in January last year.

Until his resignation, Kabore was seen as Compaore’s chosen successor. He has held five cabinet posts and served as speaker of parliament for 10 years.

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