Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
President Blaise Compaoré was elected to his fourth term in the November 2010 elections with 80 percent of the vote. Although members of opposition parties challenged the results, citing irregularities at the polls, the country’s Constitutional Council ruled in favor of Compaoré. Meanwhile, in April, Burkina Faso’s government adopted a new law on the protection and promotion of the rights of the disabled.
Burkina Faso is not an electoral democracy. International monitors have judged the most recent presidential, municipal, and legislative elections to be generally free but not entirely fair, due to the ruling CDP’s privileged access to state resources and the media. Monitors from civil society groups observed problems with the 2010 presidential elections, including traditional leaders mobilizing voters for the incumbent, inadequate numbers of voting cards and ballots at the polls, incorrect electoral lists, and the utilization of state resources for President Blaise Compaoré’s campaign. The 111-seat National Assembly is unicameral, and members serve five-year terms. The legislature is independent, but subject to executive influence.
The constitution guarantees the right to form political parties, and 13 parties are currently represented in the legislature. Opposition members have argued that the 2004 revisions to the electoral code, which tripled the number of electoral districts, gave an undue advantage to larger parties, particularly the CDP. Electoral reforms in 2009 extended the right to vote in presidential elections and referendums to Burkinabe living abroad, but not until the 2015 presidential election. Reforms also included an injunction against the practice of switching parties after elections.In January 2010, the National Assembly passed a law requiring that all voters show picture identification when arriving to the polls, though there were problems with delayed distribution of the cards. Opposition parties remain weak; in the 2007 legislative elections, only two parties, the CDP and ADF-RDA, reached the 5 percent voting threshold.
Corruption remains widespread, despite a number of public and private anticorruption initiatives. The courts have been unwilling or unable to adequately prosecute many senior officials charged with corruption.Burkina Faso was ranked 98 out of 178 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index.