Switzerland supporting the organisation of elections in Burkina Faso

Article, 30.11.2012

Burkina Faso is re-electing its legislative authorities on 2 December 2012, when around 8 million voters will be going to the polls. At the request of the authorities of Burkina Faso, several countries, including Switzerland, are supporting the organisation of these elections, which for the first time will combine voting at the municipal, regional and legislative levels. This process constitutes a test of stability for Burkina Faso and represents a major step in the process of democratisation, the rule of law and local governance.

In addition to education and food security, Switzerland's priorities in its cooperation with Burkina Faso include decentralisation and local governance. Together with other donors, Switzerland is participating in the fund operated by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support the Independent National Electoral Commission, which is responsible for organising the elections. Switzerland is contributing 2 million Swiss francs.

Switzerland is also supporting various civil society organisations through direct actions with the aim of promoting citizen participation, and it is placing a particularly strong emphasis on gender issues. In addition to efforts to raise awareness among female voters, it is also encouraging the participation of women in the electoral process as administrative personnel, as staff at polling stations and as commissioners.

Burkina Faso is one of the ten least developed countries in the world. It is a neighbour of Mali and its population is growing strongly. More than 70 percent of the population are illiterate and do not possess civil status documents. In this context, holding transparent and fair elections constitutes an enormous challenge.