30 November 2012

Burkina Faso: Nation to Hold Two Simultaneous Votes

Photo: L'Observateur Paalga
A poll worker.

This Sunday, the people of Burkina Faso will elect 127 Members of Parliament together with 18,584 municipal officials in the first concurrent ballots to be held in this small West African nation.

Thanks to the newly introduced biometric registration system, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) was able to reach the most remote areas at the height of the rainy season, registering 4 million voters, nearly half of them women.

More than 3,000 candidates will vie for 127 seats in the National Assembly. People will also elect thousands of municipal officials who will, in turn, appoint mayors for 302 rural and 49 urban communes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the European Union (EU), are supporting the elections thanks to a USD 9.3 million project.

The effort provided technical and logistical support to CENI, financed civic education activities and training for electoral staff members across the country.

UNDP developed and oversaw the printing of the ballots, designed the database of candidates and produced training manuals on how to use biometric software.

In addition, UNDP developed a user guide for polling agents, training 70 000 of them. Civil Society Organizations reached conducted civic education activities, spreading messages of peace, democracy and social cohesion throughout the campaign.

CENI certified 7000 domestic and 200 international observers, including representatives from the African Union, ECOWAS and WAEMU.

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