Burundi’s long-delayed presidential poll proceeded on Tuesday despite a night of gunfire and explosions in the capital and international appeals to President Pierre Nkurunziza to postpone it. Bloody street protests, a refugee exodus and a failed coup attempt have roiled this tiny central African nation since Mr. Nkurunziza announced in April he would seek a third term in office, even though the country’s constitution limits the president to two. The U.S., France and other international powers have urged him to reconsider his bid, and top officials have defected from the government to protest it. On Tuesday, the answer from Mr. Nkurunziza was clear: He wouldn’t back down. As polls opened at 6 a.m., the streets of the capital Bujumbura appeared relatively calm.
At least three people—two civilians and a police officer—were killed in the violence overnight, according to regional military commander Col. Marius Ngendabanka. He gave no details on the circumstances of their deaths, but they appeared to be related to clashes ahead of the vote.
Polls closed at 4 p.m. local time, and officials said official results would be announced within two days.
There was little doubt that Mr. Nkurunziza would win the vote. The opposition boycotted the election, alleging it was rigged in favor of the incumbent. The African Union and international rights groups declined to send election-monitoring teams, saying the prolonged period of violence that preceded the vote had made campaigning and a free and fair election all but impossible.
Full Article: Disputed Burundi Election Goes Ahead, Despite Violence – WSJ.