Burkina Faso State Government

Burkina Faso State Government


Form of government, constitution and separation of powers

Burkina Faso is, according to the 1991 constitution, from October 31. – 15.11.2014 was overruled by a military government, a secular presidential republic with a multi-party system. The president is directly elected as head of state every five years and has far-reaching powers. The president appoints the prime ministre and the government cabinet. The executive power is formed by the president and the government cabinet. The legislature rests with the Assemblée Nationale, the parliament. The 127 parliamentarians are elected for five years.

According to written law, the judiciary is independent and institutionally differentiated. The independence of judicial officers is enshrined in Article 129 of the Constitution. The officials are irremovable.

Under the Compaoré regime, the dominance of the president, his unrestricted access to the security forces, his influence on the executive, legislative and judicial systems as well as his influence on the appointment of constitutional judges substantially restricted the principle of the separation of powers. The majority party as well as numerous opposition parties in parliament were under the influence of the president. The judiciary was also dominated and politicized by the executive. Their functioning was significantly dysfunctional, which was most evident in cases of impunity. Political pressure, inadequate training and poor facilities were directly related to corruption, which is deeply rooted in the Burkinabe judiciary, criticized the Bertelsmann Foundation’s 2014 Transformation Index.Transformation index 2016 is related to the unstable conditions in 2014 and 2015 and does not yet reflect today’s reality in the country after the return to democracy.

Law, legal system and order

As a request of the College of Wise Men (see above), the legal system, which was mainly based on the French model, was reformed in April 2000 and the Cours Suprême (Supreme Court) was split into four independent judicial bodies: the Conseil Constitutionnel (Constitutional Court), the Cours de Cassation (Court of Cassation), the Conseil d’Etat (Administrative Court) and the Cours des Comptes (Court of Auditors).

The Ministry of Justice and the Banque de données juridiques du Burkina provide further information on the legal system and current legal texts.

The death penalty is still the toughest sanction, but was not imposed in civil court proceedings from 1988 to 2009.

The police and the military gendarmerie (together around 8,000 emergency services) are responsible for internal security. They take action against petty and violent crime, but have not been in control of the mischief of the Coupeurs de route (highway robbers, armed muggers), especially in the south-east of the country, for years. Arrested Coupeurs de route are often punished out of court.

In addition, traditional legal instances, such as the often merciless and fatal Tinsé, which enforce unwritten traditional tribal and family law with the help of ancestors and fetishes, continue to exist. Frequently lamented witchcraft offenses or taboos (e.g. refusal of marriage vows) are not dealt with by the modern legal system.

Witches expulsions, lynching of thieves, arbitrariness of police and military, violent liberation of convicted soldiers, impunity for corruption and political assassinations as well as the lynching of a functionary and the expulsion of an ethnic group from Gaoua are in August 2012 forms increasingly occurring vigilante justice, the institutional weakness of the legal system and the lack of trust in it.

Formal state structure

According to hyperrestaurant, Burkina Faso is divided into 13 regions made up of 45 provinces. In turn, 350 departments are subordinate to the provinces. The departments form the lowest administrative level. The state is present on the entire territory with a basic administrative infrastructure, even if it functions poorly in large parts of the country. The Ministère de l´Administration Territoriale et de la Décentralization (MATDS) is responsible.

The regions are headed by governors (Les treize Gouverneurs) as the highest local authorities, the provinces commissioners (Haut-commissaires) and the departmental prefects (Préfets).


The practice of decentralization began in February 1995 when the first local elections were held in 33 municipalities. The decentralization policy, the purpose of which is an increased perception of the autonomy of the rural or urban municipalities through the transfer of powers and resources, is based on the constitution of June 2, 1991. In September 2000, the municipal councils in these 33 urban municipalities were renewed and 16 new municipalities were created. The first nationwide local elections took place on April 23, 2006. The elections took place in 357 municipalities (including 308 rural municipalities). 70 political parties campaigned for 17,786 council seats with their lists of candidates. According to the final election results of the “Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante” (CENI) the presidential ruling party CDP had won 72% of the seats to be filled. The last local elections before Blaise Compaoré was overthrown were coupled with the parliamentary elections on December 2, 2012. The local governments were disbanded after the system collapsed in November 2014.
The first local elections since the new President Kaboré took office took place on May 22, 2016. 19,264 councilors in 368 municipalities were to be elected. The independent electoral commission (CENI) published the results. The turnout was 47.65%. As expected, the MPP won the most council seats with 9,521, followed by the UPC (2,450) and CDP (1,795).

GIZ supported the implementation of the gradual decentralization reforms with German development funds until 2017 in its “Decentralization and Local Development ” project.

Burkina Faso State Government