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Sunday, November 15, 1998 Published at 20:28 GMT

World: Africa

Burkina Faso president set for re-election

Blaise Compoare won unopposed in 1991

Voting has been taking place calmly in Burkina Faso's presidential election.

Current President Blaise Compaore seems almost certain to win because of a boycott by the main opposition parties.

They say the Electoral Commission was not independent and voters' lists were drawn up to favour the ruling party.

Reports from the capital, Ouagadougou, spoke of a brisk start to voting there with queues forming outside polling stations early on.

No violence was reported in Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second largest town and an opposition stronghold.

The president is facing a challenge at the ballot box for the first time. Turnout was just 25% in the 1991 elections when he stood unopposed.

Standing against him are Africa's first would-be Green Party head of state, Ram Ouedraogo, and conservative Frederic Guirma, 67.

All three candidates voted in Ouagadougou in the morning.

'Great day'

"Today is a great day for this country's citizens," Mr Compaore said in remarks broadcast on French radio. "That is why I feel like a full-fledged citizen, but I have also noted that the day will help democracy move forward and consolidate the republic,"

Mr Campaore came to power in a coup 11 years ago. During the election campaign he pledged the expansion of education and the building of a national highway system.

West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle says Blaise Compaore has brought a period of relative political stability to Burkina Faso.

Before he came to power there was a succession of unstable military governments.

This year, as president of the Organisation of African Unity, Mr Compaore led African countries in lifting UN sanctions against Libya which rewarded him with financial aid.

Our correspondent says the election is likely to be judged as much on the turnout as the result.

It is expected that provisional results will be announced early on Monday, with final figures to be published later this week.

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