Ruling party wins majority in Burkina Faso vote

OUAGADOUGOU Fri Dec 7, 2012 11:54pm GMT

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore leaves after the closing ceremony of the 14th annual Francophonie summit in Kinshasa October 14, 2012. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore leaves after the closing ceremony of the 14th annual Francophonie summit in Kinshasa October 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Noor Khamis

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OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso's ruling party secured a strong majority in this month's parliamentary election, final results showed, but the main opposition called for some results to be annulled, claiming fraud and irregularities.

Critics and allies have suggested an overwhelming majority in parliament could allow President Blaise Compaore, in power since 1987, to push through changes to the constitution that would allow him to stay on.

In 2000, Burkina Faso restricted presidents to two five-year terms but the constitutional court said the rule only applied to Compaore from the end of his 2000-2005 term.

Compaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) secured 70 of 127 seats in the December 2 vote, while allies in the broader coalition secured a further 28 seats according to complete results announced late on Friday.

"For the CDP, this is a renewal of the people's confidence. It is a crushing victory...that confirms our position as leader in Burkina," Salam Derme, the party's youth leader, said.

The opposition Union for Progress and Change (UPC) taking part in its first elections, took 19 seats, a record for the opposition in the poor, land-locked nation.

However it claimed rigging had occurred in Kadiogo, the most densely populated province and home to the capital Ouagadougou.

"The UPC is convinced that the results just announced do not reflect what the people freely expressed via the ballot box," Nathanael Ouedraogo, the UPC's campaign director said.

"The UPC plans to give proof of fraud and irregularities in Kadiogo in the next days in order to demand pure and simply the cancellation of elections (results) in that province," he said.

Observers have said voting overall was largely free and transparent.

Compaore has won four elections since he came to power in 1987 coup. The opposition has often complained that the polls were rigged.

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by David Lewis and Joe Bavier; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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