Burkina Faso to hold general elections

Burkina Faso will hold elections today for its presidency and National Assembly. Incumbent President Roch Kabore is expected to be

Burkina Faso elections

Photo: Sam Mednick/ AP

Burkina Faso will hold elections today for its presidency and National Assembly.

Incumbent President Roch Kabore is expected to be re-elected, though he may not garner enough votes to avoid a runoff. Moreover, the elections will likely be seen as illegitimate domestically, as nearly 400,000 people were unable to register to vote by the July 17 cut-off. The government also passed a law in August stating that due to violent conflict in the country’s rural areas, it is acceptable not to hold registrations there.

Like neighbouring countries in the Sahel, Burkina Faso has experienced a surge of violence in recent years from Islamic terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL, as well as local vigilante groups like the koglweogo. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed this year, and around 1 million people, or 5% of the total population, have been internally displaced. In addition, further violence could exacerbate a food crisis into a famine.

Expect extremists to use the disenfranchisement of many rural voters as a recruitment tool. In the medium-term, this crisis of legitimacy could see the country follow in the steps of its neighbour Mali and result in electoral violence and long-term political instability.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.