OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso voted on Sunday in an election which will choose the first new president in decades after long time leader Blaise Compaore was overthrown a year ago in an uprising backed by the army.
Compaore ruled the West African country for 27 years until he was ousted by protests against his attempt to change the constitution to maintain his tenure. He was replaced by transitional President Michel Kafando who will step down once the new leader is sworn in.
"I am proud to have accomplished my duty as a citizen ... It's the first time that I can be really sure that we won't end up with Blaise Compaore," said Ousmane Ouedraogo, as he cast his ballot in the capital Ouagadougou.
Fourteen candidates are running but analysts say only two stand a real chance of winning: Roch Marc Kabore, once a prime minister under Compaore, and Zephirin Diabre, a businessman.
Turnout on Sunday is expected to be heavy, given the significance of the vote, but it began slowly when polling stations opened at 6 a.m. local time (0100 ET), witnesses said. Officials set up ballot boxes and prepared voting materials.
The election was pushed back from Oct. 11 because of an abortive coup in September by members of the elite presidential guard, which has since been disbanded. Burkina Faso is a former French colony that produces gold and cotton.