Burundi to discuss about demand of vote delay

Burundi to evaluate calls for postponement of presidential election

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi officials will discuss their response on Tuesday to a call by African nations to delay the presidential election by two weeks to July 30, a presidential spokesman said.

Burundi has been plunged into its worst crisis since the end of a civil war in 2005 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April that he would run for a third term in office, a move opponents and protesters say is unconstitutional.

The president cites a court ruling saying he can run.

Regional African states meeting in Tanzania on Monday called for the July 15 presidential poll to be delayed to allow Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to mediate. They also urged steps including disarming youth groups linked to political parties.

"We are meeting today to consider a reaction," presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho told Reuters, saying the meeting would include government officials and the CENI election commission.

He did not give a time or say if the government was considering delaying the vote. He said the meeting would be held once the foreign minister returned from Tanzania on Tuesday.

The government has yet to issue a response to the meeting of the East African Community (EAC), whose member states are Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. South Africa, which helped broker the 2005 peace deal, also attended.

Nkurunziza's election bid triggered weeks of protests, often involving clashes between demonstrators and police. Dozens of people were killed.

More than 140,000 people have fled Burundi fearing a return of ethnic-fuelled violence experienced in the 12-year civil war that pitted rebel groups of the majority Hutus, one of them led by Nkurunziza, against minority Tutsis, who then led the army.

The conflict ended with the Arusha accords, named after the Tanzanian city where they were brokered. The deal established ethnic quotas in institutions and other steps to restore order.