By ARSENE KABORE (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
November 13, 2005 6:39 PM EST
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso - President Blaise Compaore, who has ruled this
West African country for nearly two decades, faced a divided opposition that
claimed he should not have been allowed to run for a third term in elections
People lined up outside schools in the capital Ouagadougou, some seeking
shade under trees from the scorching sun, to vote in the race that Compaore,
54, is expected to win, continuing his rule over one of the world's poorest
Compaore came to power in a 1987 coup and then won two subsequent
presidential elections for seven-year terms in 1991 and 1998, winning a 87.5
percent in the vote seven years ago. The 1991 vote, the nation's first
multiparty presidential election, was marred by widespread violence.
The opposition failed to rally around a single candidate for Sunday's
election, and Compaore faced 11 contenders for what is now a five-year
presidential term.
The opposition said Sunday that Compaore should not have been allowed to run
for a third consecutive term, because new election laws limit presidents to
just one term in office.
But the high court ruled that the new law went into effect in 2000, after
Compaore's last victory, and so did not apply to him.
An outright winner must win a majority of votes Sunday to forestall a runoff
between the two top candidates within 15 days.
"I hope all continues to go well as it started," Compaore said as he voted
at a nursery school in Ouagadougou.
Nearly 4 million of the nation's 12 million people were registered to vote
at some 12,000 polling centers across the dusty, impoverished nation,
Electoral Commission Chairman Moussa Michel Tapsoba said.
Tapsoba told The Associated Press that "in general, the voting process went
"I have already accomplished my civic duties. We pray to God that the
election ends without any problems," said Abdoulaye Drabo, 36, showing off
his index finger soaked in indelible ink, proof that he had voted.
The landlocked country, slightly larger than Colorado, was buffeted for
decades by military coups after gaining independence from France in 1960.
Only one in four people over age 15 can read and write, and life expectancy
is about 48 years in the country of 13.9 million.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press.