Provisional election results have put former prime minister Roch Marc Kabore in a strong position to become the first new Burkina Faso president in decades.

Results from around 41 percent of the West African country's communes show Kabore winning 54 percent of the vote, while Zephirin Diabre, a former finance minister, trailing with 29 percent, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Burkina Faso unrest: coup leader to hand over power

Kabore was prime minister and president of the National Assembly under longtime leader Blaise Compaore who was toppled by an uprising in October 2014.

Compaore seized power in a coup, ruled for 27 years and won four elections, all of which were criticised as unfair.

He was toppled by protests when he tried to change the constitution to extend his rule even further.

Sunday's election was pushed back from October 11 because of an abortive coup in September by members of the elite presidential guard, in which transitional President Michel Kafando and his prime minister were taken hostage.

The election represents a pivotal moment for a nation ruled by leaders who came to power in coups for most of its history since independence from France in 1960.

Kabore heads the Movement of People for Progress (MPP), made up of disaffected allies of Compaore who left the party months before he stood down. Diabre leads the Union for Progress and Change (UPC), which was the formal opposition.

Analysts say that of the 14 candidates who ran, only Kabore and Diabre stand a real chance of winning and a second round of voting may be on the cards.

A parallel election for the National Assembly also took place on Sunday.

Source: Agencies