Burundi’s elections on time despite opposition boycott

Burundi to go through with elections while disregarding opposition boycott

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundian elections will go as planned next week, Burundi's ambassador to the United Nations Albert Shingiro told the 15-member Security Council on Friday, despite the country’s opposition vowing to boycott the polls and the US withdrawing its assistance.

Parliamentary elections are set to be held on Monday and a presidential vote on July 15 after being pushed forward from initial date of June 26.

Burundi has been hit by weeks of civil unrest as the country’s opposition wants Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term presidential bid, which is widely considered as violating the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended over a decade long ethnic civil war in 2005.

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.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for the elections to be delayed after the opposition said they would not take part in the polls.

Hours later Washington said it was suspending assistance for the elections, which it said would not be credible, blaming Nkurunziza for trying to stay in office and violating the terms of a 2006 peace treaty.

Gervais Rufyikiri - one of Burundi's vice presidents - fled the country on June 25, saying he felt “threatened” by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

Rufyikiri told France 24 TV that a third term for the president would be unconstitutional, however a government spokesman denied that Mr. Rufyikiri had been threatened in any way.

More than 70 people have been killed and 500 wounded since April, during protests opposing Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

More than 100,000 people have fled Burundi since the start of the crisis, according to the UN.


TRTWorld and agencies