Burundian oppositions stipulate conditions for elections

Burundi’s main opposition leader lays down preconditions for participating in elections

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pre-conditions for participating in Burundi’s upcoming elections have been stipulated by Burundian opposition leader Agathon Rwasa, who demanded the disarmament of the youth and media independence, the BBC has reported.

"Armed youths must be disarmed and independent media be restored," Agathon Rwasa said.

Seventeen opposition parties have agreed to boycott the elections earlier.

Mr Rwasa said the current crisis should be resolved first to avoid “an election that may not meet all the democratic credentials.”

"But we are ready to take part if the atmosphere is conducive and the electoral commission is well prepared," he said.

Although regional leaders requested at least a six week delay, the electoral commission has postponed the elections by only 18 days. 

The opposition groups’ leaders demanded a further delay because of the resignations and self-imposed exile of two members of Burundi’s electoral commission. 

Burundi has been hit by weeks of civil unrest, with the country’s opposition wanting Burundian President Pierre 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 peace deal that ended an over decade long ethnic civil war in 2005.

More than 40 people have been killed and 500 wounded since April during protests opposing Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

Burundi’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because he was elected to his first term by lawmakers rather than the public.

More than 100,000 people have fled to neighboring nations from Burundi since the ongoing political violence erupted in April, according to the UN.

TRTWorld and agencies