Burundian opposition leader objects transitional government

Opposition leader in Burundi, Agathon Rwasa, says no to idea of transitional government

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The leader of Burundi’s National Liberation Forces (Forces pour la Libération Nationale, FNL), Agathon Rwasa has objected to the idea of establishing a transitional government especially after months of clashes which have shaken the country, IBTimes UK has reported.

"Why should we think about a transition when we know that, according to the constitution, we should be renewing our institutions this year? If there is a small delay in doing so, we can find a compromise, it wouldn't be an issue," Rwasa said.

After the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for re-election nearly 80 people have died in political violence and more than 150,000 have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

Opposition leaders want Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term presidential bid in the upcoming June 26 elections - claiming it violates the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a 2005 peace deal that ended an ethnic civil war that had been ongoing for over a decade .

Burundi’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.

East African Community (EAC) leaders met with a delegation from Nkurunziza’s party and Burundi’s opposition leaders on Tuesday.

"We met the leaders after the delegation met with the president. They explained to us the difficulties they had with Nkurunziza over the third-term question and how difficult it had been for them to take a firm position that would not compromise peace in the country," another opposition leader, Leonce Ngendakumana, said.

Stating that he will not boycott the controversial elections planned to be held on July 15, Rwasa believes that the country needs a new president by August 26 to avoid any further conflict, the date when the current President Nkurunziza’s second term in the office will end. 

"The opposition and civil society are not withdrawing from the electoral process, and do not boycott it. However, we want to make sure the process is improved for it to answer the minimum standards of a democratic election," Rwasa said.

"Some people are scared, but I think that if there is good faith, we will not enter an institutional vacuum. It is possible that before that date we go to the polls. In any case, an extension would be better than a transitional government, which is not provided by the constitution, as much as Nkurunziza's third mandate is not established by the rules,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies