Failure to bring anyone to trial in connection with Zongo's death, corruption scandals, and increased banditry has perpetuated a three-year-long period of social unrest marked by strikes, student demonstrations, and public protests involving thousands of people. On the defensive, Compaoré has undertaken a series of institutional reforms. Besides the elders' council, he has established a Constitutional Court, a Council of State, a National Audit Court, a more-independent national elections commission (CENI), and a national elections observers group (ONEL) with multiparty representation. He has allocated US $7.75 million to families and victims of political violence and human rights abuses. Furthermore, he has made concessions such as abolishing the appointed Chamber of Parliament. He organized a national Day of Forgiveness at which he made apologies before 30,000 people for state crimes dating to the 1960s.
The reforms appear to have succeeded in buying Compaoré time. The Collectif—a coalition of opposition parties, unions, and human rights groups—supported the May 2002 parliamentary elections. Further, despite a number of dour regional and global economic developments such as drought in the year 2000, low cotton prices ( US $0.55 cents/lb), the loss of remittances from migrant labor in Côte d'Ivoire following the December 1999 coup, and inflation of4.9% in 2001, the economy posted a 6.2% GDP growth rate in 2001. Burkina's poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) and debt relief under the highly indebted poor countries (HIPC) were expected to release funds for social spending. In addition, the government launched a number of agriculture initiatives including village irrigation systems, rice farm irrigation, manure pits, and the establishment of 13 chambers of agriculture, each with 20–60 elected members. The fragility of the economy and its dependence on subsistence agriculture greatly limits its ability to recover from any sudden economic downturn or bad harvest. Compaoré and the CDP were expected to maintain their virtual monopoly over power.