Burkinabe opposition candidate denounces “ massive fraud ” ahead of Sunday’s vote

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© Reuters. Opposition leader and presidential candidate Zephirin Diabre holds a press conference ahead of the presidential and legislative elections in Ouagadougou,

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By Edward McAllister

OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Burkina Faso opposition candidate Zephirin Diabre said President Roch Kabore was orchestrating a “massive fraud” to secure re-election in Sunday’s presidential poll, and that he would not accept tainted results. ‘irregularities.

Diabre, a 61-year-old former finance minister, is one of the main challengers in a squad of 12 seeking to topple Kabore in Burkina Faso’s second democratic elections since a 2014 revolution.

Diabre told a press conference on Saturday that ruling party agents pay women in markets to hand them voting cards so someone else can vote for them. He waved a video on his cell phone in the air allegedly showing this to have happened, but did not provide further evidence of wrongdoing.

Diabre said his party would file a complaint with the public prosecutor and called on the electoral commission to end the practice.

“The massive nature of the phenomenon may undermine the serenity and integrity of the November 22 election results,” Diabre said.

Kabore’s MPP party chairman Simon Compaoré called the allegations “false”.

Representatives of electoral commissions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The head of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission, who arrived to meet with members of the opposition as the Diabre conference wrapped up, said he did not ‘had seen no evidence of fraud.

“We were fortunate to witness a very calm and gentlemanly campaign. We have no concerns about fraud,” former Guinean prime minister Kabine Komara told Reuters.

Analysts expect a close race between Kabore, Diabre and another candidate, Eddie Komboigo, with the possibility of a second ballot if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote on Sunday.

At least 400,000 people, or nearly 7% of the Burkinabe electorate, will not be able to vote because of an Islamist insurgency linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State which has forced a million people to flee.

By order of the electoral commission, polling stations will not open in hundreds of villages severely affected by attacks in the north and east.

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