Tag Archives: MPP

Burkina Faso’s election is just the beginning of its transition

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a former prime minister, will become Burkina Faso's new president.
Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, a former prime minister, will become Burkina Faso’s new president.

After holding a free and relatively trouble-free election on November 29th, Burkina Faso has elected a new, civilian president: Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.burkina faso flag icon

That, in itself, is a milestone for a country that has very little experience with democracy or even civilian leaders, and that just two months ago faced yet another militant coup designed to throw the country’s elections off track. Kaboré is just the second civilian Burkinabé leader since the country gained independence from France in 1960.

Supporters and opponents alike were celebrating in the streets of in Ouagadougou this weekend to mark the second fully contested election in the country’s post-independence history.

Kaboré’s election, however, is just the first step in what could still be a very troubled path to stronger governing institutions, committed democracy and greater development in Burkina Faso, a country of over 17 million people, though one of the world’s poorest (the International Monetary Fund estimates per-capita nominal GDP at just $631).


Burkina Faso’s latest political chapter began in October 2014, when long-serving president Blaise Compaoré fled from office in the wake of massive protests against his bid to win yet another reelection. Compaoré, then a young military leader, helped Thomas Sankara take power in a 1983 coup — only to force the leftist Sankara out in 1987, killing his once-close friend Sankara in the process and transforming Sankara into something of a martyr of the African left.

When Compaoré fled power last autumn, he was at the time the world’s seventh-longest ruling leader. Despite his autocratic rule at home, he had become an ally to the United States and to European powers at a time when west Africa has increasingly become a security concern for Western governments anxious to halt the rise of radical jihadist groups from Nigeria to the Sahel. The election comes in the aftermath of a deadly terrorist attack in Bamako, the capital of Mali, Burkina Faso’s neighbor to the north and the west. But the election also comes after the peaceful reelection of Ivorian president Alasanne Ouattara and ahead of scheduled Ghanian elections in 2016. Continue reading Burkina Faso’s election is just the beginning of its transition

Altankhuyag appointed as new prime minister in Mongolia

Mongolia today has a new prime minister in Norov Altankhuyag (Норовын Алтанхуяг), the leader of the Democratic Party (Ардчилсан нам, Ardchilsan Nam).

The landlocked central Asian country of just under 3 million, nestled between Russia and China, is undergoing somewhat of a mining-based boom these days — for decades, it was locked in the socialist shadow of the Soviet Union, but today is riding the crest of China’s state capitalist wave and its capital, Ulan Bator, is being transformed like many of China’s provincial capitals from dusty backwater to a thriving boomtown.  Its largest coal mine, Tavan Tolgoi, is due to be listed on Hong Kong- and London-based stock exchanges next year, and investors are already looking to the next administration for signs that it will be business-friendly:

Over the next four years, the country’s vast mineral wealth will be exploited and the state coffers will begin to fill, putting the new government in a strong but testing position.

“The importance of this next term cannot be overstated,” says Travis Hamilton, founder of the Khan Mongolia Equities Fund. “The stakes are a lot higher now, and the actions over the next four years will determine the coming decades. Mongolia is still heavily dependent on foreign investment, but when they run at capacity they will be able to go on their own. The country is on the precipice of financial independence.”

The appointment comes after weeks of coalition talks following the June 28 election of the 76 members to Mongolia’s State Great Khural (Улсын Их Хурал, Ulsyn Ikh Khural).  In that election, the pro-free market Democratic Party won 31 seats to just 25 for the ruling Mongolia People’s Party (Монгол Ардын Нам, Mongol Ardiin Nam), formerly the communist party that ran Mongolia from 1921 to 1996.

A third party, formed in 2010 by former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (Монгол Ардын Хувьсгалт Нам, Mongol Ardyn Khuvsgalt Nam), won 11 seats, and will join the coalition with the Democratic Party.  That’s somewhat, troubling, in part because Enkhbayar himself was just sentenced to four years in prison last week on corruption charges.

Nonetheless,Reuters reports that Mongolia’s new leaders are taking a much more favorable position toward foreign investment: Continue reading Altankhuyag appointed as new prime minister in Mongolia