Vote counting under way in Burkina Faso elections

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Counting is under way in Burkina Faso where voters have been choosing a new president and parliament after a year of political turmoil.

Provisional results are expected by Monday evening.

It is the first election since last year’s popular uprising which toppled longstanding president Blaise Compaore.

The vote was due to have been held last month but was delayed by a failed coup in September led by members of the elite presidential guard.

Long queues formed outside many polling stations before they closed at 18:00 GMT.

Security has been tight with up to 25,000 troops and police deployed across the country and foreign observers overseeing the poll.

The election is meant to mark the end of the transitional period following Mr Compaore’s removal. Analysts say it could be the most open and democratic vote in the country’s history.

“It is a victory for the youth that has expressed its will for change and for real democracy,” said transitional President Michel Kafando as he cast his vote.

Former President Blaise Compaore was forced from office by street protests in October 2014 over his plans to serve another five-year term. He had been in power for 27 years.

A transitional government was installed but the country was thrown into turmoil again in September when members of the elite presidential guard led a short-lived coup. The attempt failed and the guard was disbanded.

Fourteen candidates are standing for the presidency and reports suggest that Roch Marc Christian Kabore and Zephirin Diabre are the front-runners.

Economist Mr Diabre has served as minister of economy and finance before he fell out with Mr Campaore in 2010.

Mr Kabore served as prime minister and chairman of the Congress for Democracy and Progress party (CDP) before leaving the party in 2014, after opposing plans to extend Mr Compaore’s rule.

If no candidate wins an absolute majority in the first round, a second round will be held.