1st Ld Writethru: Voting starts in Burkina Faso for presidental, parliamentary elections

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OUAGADOUGOU, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Polling stations for Burkina Faso's presidential and parliamentary elections opened at 6 a.m. local time on Sunday.

In the capital Ouagadougou, long queues of voters can be noticed in front of polling stations that opened at 6 a.m in Bonheur Primary school.

In the terrorist-attack-torn Sahel region, stations will open with a short delay in the communities of Yalgo, Kelbo and Solle, the chairman of the election body Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) Newton Ahmed Barry said in a statement issued on Sunday.

In total, 6,490,144 nationals inside and outside Burkina Faso are expected to cast their votes in 21,155 polling stations.

They will elect a new president among 13 candidates competing for the presidential and 127 parliamentarians among 10,652 candidates.

The incumbent President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who took office in 2015, is seeking a second term.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has 15 members including Burkina Faso, has deployed 80 electoral observers to witness the elections, whereas UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres called for " a climate of mutual respect during the electoral process".

The election campaign period of 21 days ahead of polling has been shaken by a series of terrorist attacks that forced candidates to break for some days.

The most deadly attack was an ambush that claimed the lives of 14 militaries and over ten terrorists on Nov. 11. Enditem

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