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Burkina Faso Politics

State and politics

After Blaise Compaoréscoup 1987 and demands for increased democracy a new constitution was adopted after a referendum in June 1991. Amendments and additions thereto were subsequently made in 1997, 2000 and 2002. According to the constitution, the executive power is added to a president whose influence is balanced by a popular, legislative single-chamber parliament and an independent judiciary. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who must, however, be approved by Parliament. Parliament's 127 members are elected in general elections every five years. From the 2005 presidential election, the term of office of the head of state was reduced from seven to five years. In 2000, the rule was reintroduced that the president can only be re-elected once, but since it was ruled that this did not apply retroactively, Compaoré was allowed to run both 2005 and 2010. Parliament's first chamber of parliament was abolished in 2002. According to the constitution, a regime that has come to power through coups is not granted legitimacy. To symbolize Burkina Faso's removal from the revolutionary past, the national motto has been changed from "the homeland or death, we shall triumph" to "unity, progress, justice", and some of the national anthem text has been replaced.

Political System of Burkina Faso

Compaoré, who was elected president in 1991 and re-elected in 1998, 2005 and 2010, pursued an economic austerity policy, which led to strikes and demonstrations. By splitting and absorbing the opposition, however, he managed to maintain and strengthen his position. When Compaoré in 2014 tried to bring about a constitutional change that would allow him to sit for further terms, violent demonstrations erupted, leading to his resignation and the army taking power. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how BF can stand for Burkina Faso.

In 2015, presidential elections were held and in December 2015 the country got its first civilian president in 50 years when former Prime Minister Roch Marc Christian Kaboré won the election with 53 percent of the vote against just under 30 percent for former Finance Minister Zéphirin Diabréi.

The Comparative Party of the Congress for Democracy and Le Progress (CDP), which is described as Social Democratic, was formed in 1996 after a merger of the Organization for the Democracy Popular - Movement du travail (ODP-MT) and dozens of small parties. In the May 2002 parliamentary elections, the CDP received 57 of the Parliament's 111 seats, a significantly smaller majority than the party had until then. In 2007, CDP strengthened its position again and received 73 seats. Five years later, the ruling party again won big and received 70 out of 127 seats. The Union for Progress and Change (UPC), which was formed in 2012, received 19 seats, as did the Alliance for Democracy and Federation - Rassemblement démocratique africain (ADF-RDA).

In the November 1998 presidential election, Compaoré received just over 87 percent of the vote. The elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties. After the 2005 and 2010 elections, in which the president was re-elected with 80 percent of the vote, he was accused of electoral fraud. In 2011, popular protests against the regime flared up and the military broke out. This year also met Compaore's attempt to abolish the rule on a limited number of terms for presidential opposition.

Although Compaoré came to power through a coup in which his representative Thomas Sankara was killed, he later gained some international respect through his mediation efforts in African conflicts. However, his regime was accused of involvement in the wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries. Since the late 1990s, several notable political murders have created a harsh domestic political climate.

Judiciary

The legal system is based on French law in combination with local customary law. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, appellate courts and local courts. The death penalty remains in the penal code but is de facto abolished in 1988.

Heads of State

Presidents

1957-66 Maurice Yaméogo *
1966-80 Sangoulé Lamizana
1980-82 Saye Zerbo
1982-83 Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo
1983-87 Thomas Sankara
1987-2014 Blaise Compaoré
2014-15 Michel Kafando (acting president)
2015- Roch Marc Christian Kaboré

* Burkina Faso first became independent in 1960.

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