Elections delayed in Burundi by president

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza delays parliamentary elections by a week

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza delayed parliamentary elections by a week which was set for May 26, after nearly a month of anti-governmental demonstrations and a failed military coup in the east African state, Willy Nyamitwe, adviser of Burundi presidency said on Wednesday, Reuters has reported.

The decision came after a recommendation by the election commission, opposition politicians and the international community for a postponement

Defense and Foreign ministers of Burundi had been dismissed by president Nkurunziza following a failed coup attempt days before, as hundreds of protesters continue demonstrations and anti-government street marches despite warnings. 

Singing songs and blowing whistles, demonstrators gathered in several parts of the capital Bujumbura to protest current president Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in power. 

Police fired tear gas at one group of demonstrators, and a few shots were heard, a Reuters photographer said.

"It was courageous to protest today after all the threats that demonstrators received from the authorities and the presence of many heavily armed soldiers, who have not stopped firing live rounds -- but fortunately into the air and not at demonstrators," said Pacifique Nininahazwe, a protest leader.

At least 20 people died in the protests before the coup attempt and many were injured. 

Bujumbura mayor Juma Saidi, speaking on state television on Sunday, warned that "demonstrators will be considered as part of the coup, and security forces have been ordered to treat them as such."

A failed coup last week appeared to expose rifts in the military, a key pillar of post-war unity and reconciliation. Nyamitwe denied any splits in the security forces.

"The army is not divided," he told Reuters.

The east African nation has been hit by protests in opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza's candidacy of re-election for a third term, while Burundi's constitution stipulates that a president can only serve for two terms.

The 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.

Despite the demonstrations against his third term bid, Burundi's Constitutional Court approved the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

TRTWorld and agencies