Polls opened in Burkina Faso on Sunday and the incumbent president Roch Kabore is urging everyone to take part.

“This is about Burkina Faso’s democracy, it is about the development of Burkina Faso and it is also about peace in our country.”

But a lack of peace is the reason not everyone in the West African country can vote. Jihadist violence, which has claimed more than 2 000 lives in 2020, has rendered parts of the nation ungovernable and polling stations will not open in hundreds of villages.

At least 400 000 people will be unable to vote according to official data, nearly 7% of the electorate.

Kabore is seeking a second five year term off the back of achievements such as free healthcare for children under five, but attacks by militant groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have eclipsed all else.

In a crowded field of presidential candidates, all have put peace and security at the heart of their campaigns, but two of Kabore’s opponents stand out, the head of former president Blaise Campaore’s party Eddie Komboigo and the runner up in the last election Zepherin Diabre.

Analysts expect a tight race between these three that could go to a second round if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote.