Burkina Faso held its first ever Senatorial elections at the weekend.
The Senate was created as a result of a 2012 constitutional amendment. It is very contested. The opposition believe it is another way for the ruling Congrès pour la démocratie et le progrès (CDP) party of President Blaise Compaoré to control the system.
The Senate is elected indirectly. The 2012 constitutional revision did not specify the number of Senators. Instead, the details were passed in an organic law in May 2013. There are 89 Senators, of whom 39 are elected indirectly by local councillors, 4 are elected by groups representing religious authorities, traditional powers, trades unions, and business organisations., 5 are elected by Burkinabés living abroad, and the remaining 29 are appointed by the President of the Republic.
The election of the 36 regional senators took place at the weekend. There are 13 regions each of which returns three Senators. Lefaso.net reports that there were 18,478 electors and 14,196 voted. The opposition boycotted the election. Unsurprisingly the CDP did well, winning 36 of the 39 seats. Satellite parties won the remaining three seats.
So, with the 29 presidential appointees, unsurprisingly the ruling CDP will have a clear majority whatever happens in the remaining elections. This perhaps illustrates why the opposition was so opposed to the institution.