OUAGADOUGOU – The party of Burkina Faso's president-elect Roch Marc Christian Kabore came first in the west African country's parliamentary vote but fell short of winning an absolute majority, according to official results announced on Wednesday.
After securing 55 seats out of 127 in Sunday's election, Kabore's Movement of the People of Progress (MPP) must now seek coalition partners in order to form a government.
The outcome marks a second victory for Kabore, a former premier and once a close ally of ex-leader Blaise Compaore, after he won Sunday's presidential election – the first since a popular revolt last year ended nearly three decades of rule by Compaore.
The party led by Kabore's main electoral rival, Zephirin Diabre, came second in the legislative vote with 33 seats, while Compaore's Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party won 18, despite a ban on some 50 of its cadres from running.
Many hope the elections, seen by observers as largely clean, will restore stability to Burkina after more than a year of upheaval that saw longtime leader Compaore toppled and his supporters try to stage a coup.
'President of all the people'
"Voters have confirmed that we are the main party in Burkina Faso," said Simon Compaore, Ouagadougou's ex-mayor and a leading member of Kabore's party, who is no relation to the deposed strongman.
"President Kabore has said that he is the president of all the people of Burkina and that he wants to work with everyone," he added.
Kabore's party must now seek partners to form a coalition government, and analysts say he is likely to reach out to small parties.
"I don't think he will find (allies) in the two other main forces," said Abdoulaye Soma, head of Burkina's association of constitutional law.
The 58-year-old Kabore has pledged to bring a "better tomorrow" for Burkina's 18 million people, most of whom live in grinding poverty, as the country frets about Islamist violence in neighbouring Mali spilling over the border.
He has vowed to build "a new Burkina Faso" by fighting youth unemployment, improving education and modernising the health system.
Kabore led the CDP for over a decade and was seen as Compaore's likely heir, but fell out with the strongman in 2012 and last year formed his own opposition party.
The United States hailed Burkina's election as "a major milestone in the country's democratic progress," while President Francois Hollande of France, the former colonial power, congratulated Kabore on his "clean and undisputed" victory.
After almost a year of transitional government, activists returned to the capital's streets in September to protest against a short-lived putsch by loyalists of the former strongman in the presidential guard.AFP