After the 1978 competitive presidential and legislative elections, the government recognized only the three largest parties in the National Assembly: the Voltaic Democratic Union–African Democratic Rally, the National Union for Democracy, and the Voltaic Progressive Union. The last subsequently merged with smaller groups to form the Voltaic Progressive Front.
Following the coup of 25 November 1980, all political parties were banned. To disseminate government views on a grass-roots level, the CNR, which took power in 1983, sponsored the formation of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.
The Compaoré government legalized parties prior to holding elections on 24 May 1992. Compaoré's Popular Democratic Organization-Worker's Movement (ODP-MT) gained 78 seats. The National Convention of Progressive Patriots-Social Democratic Party (CNPP-PSD) won 12 seats and the African Democratic Assembly (ADA) won 6. Eight other parties were represented in the Assembly of People's Deputies. Abstention of 65% of the voters diminished the significance of this election.
National Assembly elections were held 11 May 1997. Again, a boycott resulted in an approximate 50% voter turnout with the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) of President Compaoré winning 101 seats, the PDP 6 seats, the RDA 2 seats, and the ADF 2 seats.
In the municipal elections of September 2000, the CDP took 802 of 1,098 council seats based on a voter turn-out of 68.4% in a field of 25 parties. The African Democratic Rally-Alliance for Democracy and Federation (ADF/RDA) took second place with 133 seats. Third place was taken by l'Union des Démocrates Libéraux (ULD), a pro-presidential group with 49 seats. The by l'Union pour la Démocratie et la Fédération (UDF), an opposition group, took fourth place with 22 seats. The Party for African Independence (PAI) took fifth place with 20 seats. A number of younger parties including the Democratic Convention for Federation (CDF) took the remaining seats. Numerous complaints of fraud were brought forward to the Constitutional Court, but were not expected to affect the results.
In the parliamentary elections of May 2002, the CDP retained its majority, but its former dominance was reduced to 57 seats against 17 for RDA-ADF led by Hermann Yaméogo, 10 for the Party for Democracy and Progress (PDP/PS) of Joseph Ki-Zerbo, 5 for the CFD, 5 for PAI led by Philippe Ouedraogo, and 17 for other parties. The next elections were scheduled for May 2007.