Burkina Faso Political System

Political system

Short for BF by Abbreviationfinder, Burkina Faso is a republic with multi-party systems. Between 1987 and 2014, however, then-President Blaise Compaoré and his party CDP largely dominated the political scene. After a popular revolt in the fall of 2014, a military-backed transitional government took over power for just over a year before the country again won a civilian, democratically elected president in November 2015. According to the constitution, the judiciary should be independent, but the judges are ultimately responsible to the president.

The constitution was written in 1991, but several changes have been made since then. The constitution distinguishes between legislative, executive and judicial power and guarantees basic civil and political rights. A commission was appointed in 2016 to review the constitution (see Current policy). In the proposal presented in 2017, the president would only be allowed to stand for re-election once, the death penalty be abolished and the number of members of the National Assembly increased from 127 to 152. A referendum on the new proposal is scheduled to be held on March 24, 2019.

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Burkina Faso for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

The executive power lies with the president, who is also head of state, and with the government. Since the 2005 election, the president has been elected in direct elections for a five-year term. A president may serve a maximum of two terms of office. A person must be between 35 and 75 years of age in order to run for president.

The President appoints the Prime Minister, who must be approved by Parliament. Other Ministers are appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister.

The Legislative Parliament, the National Assembly, has a chamber of 127 members elected for five years in general, proportional elections. Parliament’s upper house (Senate) was abolished in 2002. There has been a debate about re-establishing the Senate, and a decision was made in 2013 by Parliament to do so. Since then, nothing concrete has been done on the matter.

The President may, after consulting the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly, dissolve the National Assembly. Both the government and the National Assembly can submit legislative proposals.

Burkina Faso is divided into 45 provinces, led by governors.

Political parties

Burkina Faso has a number of political parties. In the November 2015 general election, 79 parties lined up with candidates. Of the 14 elected to the legislative assembly, three parties were dominant (see below).

Compaoré’s ruling party, which from 1996 was called the Congress of Democracy and Progress (the Congress of Democracy and Le Progress, CDP), was formed through a merger of 13 organizations that supported the then president. The party by far won several elections in a row, most recently in 2012, and came to be almost synonymous with the entire state apparatus. Following the revolt against Compaorés and CDP’s government in the fall of 2014, the party was temporarily banned by the newly-appointed transitional government, on the grounds that the party engaged in illegal activities. In the 2015 election, however, CDP became the third largest party with 18 seats.

In early 2014, several of Compaore’s former supporters formed a new party, the People’s Progress Movement (Mouvement du peuple pour le progrès, MPP). Several previous top names from CDP joined MPP, which became the largest party in the 2015 election with 55 seats. President Salif Diallo succeeded President Kaboré in 2017 as MPP’s party leader.

CDP’s previous control over the state apparatus made it difficult to effectively challenge the party and President Compaoré. The opposition was weak and divided into small parties. Largest in the opposition was the ADF-RDA long-standing alliance between the center parties Alliance for Democracy and the Federation (Alliance for Democracy and Federation, ADF) and African Democratic Collection (Rassemblement démocratique africain, RDA).

In 2010, a new opposition party, the Union for Progress and Change (Union pour le progrès et le changement, UPC), was formed by Zéphirin Diabré, who had previously held several ministerial posts under Compaoré. UPC announced that it does not want to place itself in any particular place on the right-left scale. In the 2012 election, UPC received 19 seats, which was the best result so far for the opposition. In 2015, UPC increased its representation in the National Assembly to 33 seats and became the second largest party.

Following the 2016 local elections, eight parties, including the CDP, ADF and RDA, formed a new alliance: the Coalition for Democratic and National Reconciliation (Coalition for the Democracy and the Reconciliation Nationale, Coder).


According to the constitution, the judiciary should be independent, but the judges are ultimately responsible to the president. The legal system is based on French law and traditional domestic customary law. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, appellate courts for appeals and local courts. The judiciary is considered to be corrupt and ineffective. The judiciary also suffers from a great lack of resources.

The Compaoré government was repeatedly accused of not investigating suspicions of abuses committed by state powers. A series of murders and disappearances remained unresolved. Torture occurred in overcrowded prisons, where only half of the prisoners received any trial.

The transitional government that took office in 2014 promised to investigate the allegations of human crimes committed during Compaoré. The transitional government also resumed closed investigations of unresolved known crimes, such as the assassination of journalist Norbert Zongo and President Thomas Sankara (see Mass Media and Modern History).

Death penalty abolished in 2018. However, as far as is known, no executions have been carried out since the 1980s.

Burkina Faso Urban Population



Zongo is appointed new Prime Minister

President Compaoré appoints Tertius Zongo as new head of government.


CDP wins in parliamentary elections

President Blaise Compaore’s ruling party The Democracy and Progress Congress (CDP) wins the parliamentary election by a wide margin. The party expands its majority in the National Assembly from 57 seats to 73. The main opposition party Alliance for Democracy and the Federation-African Democratic Assembly (ADF-RDA) loses three seats and stays at 14.