After hitting the early morning service at the local Catholic church, where, despite the early hour there were still people sitting outside for lack of room in the enormous sanctuary:
I followed the advice of the priest in his closing comments before the blessing and dismissal and went to the polls. Of course, I’m not registered to vote so I couldn’t go inside, but I could see that all was calm.
I chatted up a poll worker who was hanging around outside, and he said that the lines had been steady all morning since the polling place opened at 7:00. There were about 200 people in the courtyard, lined up in front of six separate polling places in the school:
I chatted up a policeman before I dragged my camera out and he told me to be discreet in my photography, so I didn’t get any closeups. I wanted a selfie with the cop but I didn’t want to push it since he looked a little nervous when I suggested taking pictures.
They are concerned about security. There was a policeman at each entrance to a polling place, and a car around the back that I saw as I headed out with a few more. No Kalashnikovs in evidence but presumably they are somewhere if needed.
It looked like once you got inside it took a maximum of a couple of minutes to vote, so you have to figure if this pace is maintained all day something over a thousand people will vote at these six polling places. And there are 2,100 polling places in Ouagadougou alone, 19,000-odd for the whole country (I downloaded a list before I sallied forth). This is a good turnout, I would think. Somewhere around six million people are registered to vote, of whom quite a few are caught, as I described yesterday, with old registrations still valid in their villages. Some have returned to the village to vote while others are sitting it out, but if four million show up at the polls hopefully that will address questions of legitimacy.
The old ruling party, the CDP, was prevented from offering presidential candidates, but they do have a legislative list. It will be illuminating to see how well they do in the legislative elections. If they have any significant number of seats it will be a rebuke to the transitional government and show the enduring importance of their organization.
In any case, good luck to the Burkinabè.
Oh, and while passing through the forest park the other day, I saw this guy:
He’s got the colors of Marc Christian “Roch” Kaboré, one of the leading presidential candidates. I wonder if it’s a sign?