At least 70 per cent of the Upper Volta electorate who cast votes in a national referendum on Sunday (27 November) supported a return to democratic rule.
SV EXTERIOR & MV & CU Voters queueing at polling booth (3 shots)
CU Ballot cards in hand
MCU Upper Volta President Sangoule Lamizana and wife picking up ballet papers (2 shots)
CU Electoral officers
CU Poster announcing referendum bearing words 'Oui' and 'Non'
CU President Lamizana casts vote, followed by wife
CU Ballot paper being placed in box, PAN UP TO voter
SV & MV Line of soldiers and other queues of voters (5 shots)
President Lamizana first took over the country in January 1966, almost five years after Upper Volta became independent. Then an army Lieutenant Colonel, he threw out the country's original president, Maurice Yameogo, suspended the constitution for the first time, and formed a government with himself at its head. In 1970, a second constitution was drawn up (the one that lasted until 1974), and an elected government proposed, with the military holding five of its 15 members. More than 80 per cent of the electorate approved this constitution in a referendum. A major factor in prompting President Lamizana to hold the latest referendum was sustained agitation from trade unions (there was a brief and abortive general strike last March) at a time when inflation was cutting back the real value of wages.
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Background: At least 70 per cent of the Upper Volta electorate who cast votes in a national referendum on Sunday (27 November) supported a return to democratic rule. Interior Minister Yoryan Gabriel announced the figure the day after the voting.
SYNOPSIS: Upper Volta's democratic framework was partially dismantled in February 1974 when President Sangoule Lamizana announced the Army was formally taking over the country. He dissolved the National Assembly and suspended the constitution. This followed a deadlock between the Assembly and Prime Minister Gerard Ouedraogo.
President Lamizana and his wife cast their votes, although more than 600,000 in an electorate of almost two and a half million did not. The referendum was to approve or reject a new constitution, under which presidential and general elections would be held within six months.
Last month the president lifted a three-and-a-half-year-old ban on political parties. Since early in 1976, however, his government has consisted mostly of civilian members. Last May he entrusted a Constitutional Commission with the task of drawing up a new one. Under it, the president and deputies to the National Assembly will be elected for five years. As in the United States, the president will not be allowed more than two consecutive terms of office.