Burkina Faso is a republic with multi-party
systems. Between 1987 and 2014, however, then-President
Blaise Compaoré and his party CDP largely dominated the
political scene. After a popular revolt in the fall of
2014, a military-backed transitional government took
over power for just over a year before the country again
won a civilian, democratically elected president in
November 2015. According to the constitution, the
judiciary should be independent, but the judges are
ultimately responsible to the president.
The constitution was written in 1991, but several
changes have been made since then. The constitution
distinguishes between legislative, executive and
judicial power and guarantees basic civil and political
rights. A commission was appointed in 2016 to review the
constitution (see Current policy). In the proposal
presented in 2017, the president would only be allowed
to stand for re-election once, the death penalty be
abolished and the number of members of the National
Assembly increased from 127 to 152. A referendum on the
new proposal is scheduled to be held on March 24, 2019.
Total population and chart of Burkina Faso for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The executive power lies with the president, who is
also head of state, and with the government. Since the
2005 election, the president has been elected in direct
elections for a five-year term. A president may serve a
maximum of two terms of office. A person must be between
35 and 75 years of age in order to run for president.
The President appoints the Prime Minister, who must
be approved by Parliament. Other Ministers are appointed
by the President in consultation with the Prime
The Legislative Parliament, the National
Assembly, has a chamber of 127 members elected
for five years in general, proportional elections.
Parliament's upper house (Senate) was abolished in 2002.
There has been a debate about re-establishing the
Senate, and a decision was made in 2013 by Parliament to
do so. Since then, nothing concrete has been done on the
The President may, after consulting the Prime
Minister and the President of the National Assembly,
dissolve the National Assembly. Both the government and
the National Assembly can submit legislative proposals.
Burkina Faso is divided into 45 provinces, led by
Burkina Faso has a number of political parties. In
the November 2015 general election, 79 parties lined up
with candidates. Of the 14 elected to the legislative
assembly, three parties were dominant (see below).
Compaoré's ruling party, which from 1996 was called
the Congress of Democracy and Progress
(the Congress of Democracy and Le Progress, CDP),
was formed through a merger of 13 organizations that
supported the then president. The party by far won
several elections in a row, most recently in 2012, and
came to be almost synonymous with the entire state
apparatus. Following the revolt against Compaorés and
CDP's government in the fall of 2014, the party was
temporarily banned by the newly-appointed transitional
government, on the grounds that the party engaged in
illegal activities. In the 2015 election, however, CDP
became the third largest party with 18 seats.
In early 2014, several of Compaore's former
supporters formed a new party, the People's
Progress Movement (Mouvement du peuple pour le
progrès, MPP). Several previous top
names from CDP joined MPP, which became the largest
party in the 2015 election with 55 seats. President
Salif Diallo succeeded President Kaboré in 2017 as MPP's
CDP's previous control over the state apparatus made
it difficult to effectively challenge the party and
President Compaoré. The opposition was weak and divided
into small parties. Largest in the opposition was the
ADF-RDA long-standing alliance between
the center parties Alliance for Democracy and
the Federation (Alliance for Democracy
and Federation, ADF) and
African Democratic Collection (Rassemblement
démocratique africain, RDA).
In 2010, a new opposition party, the Union
for Progress and Change (Union pour le progrès
et le changement, UPC), was formed by
Zéphirin Diabré, who had previously held several
ministerial posts under Compaoré. UPC announced that it
does not want to place itself in any particular place on
the right-left scale. In the 2012 election, UPC received
19 seats, which was the best result so far for the
opposition. In 2015, UPC increased its representation in
the National Assembly to 33 seats and became the second
Following the 2016 local elections, eight parties,
including the CDP, ADF and RDA, formed a new alliance:
the Coalition for Democratic and National
Reconciliation (Coalition for the Democracy and
the Reconciliation Nationale, Coder).
According to the constitution, the judiciary should
be independent, but the judges are ultimately
responsible to the president. The legal system is based
on French law and traditional domestic customary law.
The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, appellate
courts for appeals and local courts. The judiciary is
considered to be corrupt and ineffective. The judiciary
also suffers from a great lack of resources.
The Compaoré government was repeatedly accused of not
investigating suspicions of abuses committed by state
powers. A series of murders and disappearances remained
unresolved. Torture occurred in overcrowded prisons,
where only half of the prisoners received any trial.
The transitional government that took office in 2014
promised to investigate the allegations of human crimes
committed during Compaoré. The transitional government
also resumed closed investigations of unresolved known
crimes, such as the assassination of journalist Norbert
Zongo and President Thomas Sankara (see Mass Media and
Death penalty abolished in 2018. However, as far as
is known, no executions have been carried out since the
Zongo is appointed new Prime Minister
President Compaoré appoints Tertius Zongo as new head
CDP wins in parliamentary elections
President Blaise Compaore's ruling party The
Democracy and Progress Congress (CDP) wins the
parliamentary election by a wide margin. The party
expands its majority in the National Assembly from 57
seats to 73. The main opposition party Alliance for
Democracy and the Federation-African Democratic Assembly
(ADF-RDA) loses three seats and stays at 14.