Burundi postpones elections amid continuing unrest

Burundi election body says elections postponed after call from African leaders as tension remains high

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi election organisation body postponed the parliamentary elections following a demand by African nations.

"The June 5 local and parliamentary elections are postponed until another date that is unknown. The authorised persons will announce it in hours, in days ahead," electoral body president Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said on Wednesday.

Ndayicariye did not say anything about the presidential elections which are set to be held on June 26.

Following a meeting in Tanzania last week, African leaders urged Burundi to postpone the elections because of the unrest and security concerns.

The country is rocked by protests and violence since April 26 as President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term ignited the unrest which does not seem to be ending in the near future.

Since the inception of the protests at least 30 people have been killed, latest of which is Abdul Ndayiezye, a member of Burundi’s opposition National Liberation Forces party, who was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in the capital Bujumbura on Wednesday.

Opposition claims constitution, which limits the presidency to two terms, prohibits Nkurunziza from running for a third term.

Nkurunziza says he has the right to run as he was elected by the parliament, not the people, in his first term, a claim backed by a constitutional court decision.

Continuing tension threatens to reignite ethnic conflict in Burundi which suffered a 12-year civil war between Hutus and Tutsis in the past.

Around 300,000 people were killed in the conflict between 1993 and 2005 that ended when Nkurunziza became president.

TRTWorld and agencies