Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore wins re-election, provisional tally shows

President Blaise Compaore won a third term as Burkina Faso's leader, according to provisional results released Friday, giving the former army captain 80 percent of the vote.

The electoral court must still certify the results, after ruling on any changes to the provisional tally, to be filed within 48 hours, the electoral commission said.

Compaore, 54, who rose to power through a bloody 1987 coup, had faced 11 challengers in Sunday's election. His closest rival took only 5 percent of the 2.3 million votes cast, provisional results indicated. Turnout was 58 percent, the commission said.

Compaore's firm grip on power in this impoverished country has made his party a daunting political machine. Long accused of helping fuel armed conflict across West Africa, Compaore won elections in 1991 and 1998 for consecutive seven-year terms.

The opposition said Compaore should not have been allowed to run a third time, according to a new election law that bars presidents from serving more than one term.

The High Court said the law did not apply to Compaore this year, since it had into effect in 2000, after Compaore's last electoral victory.

The new governing mandate is five years, instead of seven.

Burkina Faso is among the world's poorest countries, with high rates of unemployment and illiteracy. The country was buffeted for decades by military coups after gaining independence from France in 1960, AP reported. V.A.

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