Civil society groups in Burundi on Sunday urged the electoral commission to halt voter registration and said fake identification cards were being used, highlighting tensions before next year’s elections. Opposition parties in the African nation which emerged from ethnic-fuelled civil war in 2005 made a similar demand last month, citing irregularities in appointments for the registration process. The government has previously denied foul play, while the electoral commission said it was dealing with any complaints. The ruling coalition and its opponents are locked in a row over whether President Pierre Nkurunziza can run for office for a third term. He is widely expected to make another bid but has yet to say whether he will run in the June presidential vote.
Registration was due to end on Sunday but the National Electoral Commission (CENI) extended it until Dec. 12 because just 2.5 million out of an expected 4.2 million had registered.
“We think for the sake of democracy and stability in the country, CENI must suspend registration and organise an evaluation meeting with all stakeholders in order to have a fair and transparent voter registration,” Pierre Claver Mbonimba, head of the Association for the Defence of Human and Prisoners’ Rights (APRODH), told Reuters.