Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has set May 17 as the referendum date for a controversial constitutional reform, according to a presidential decree signed on Sunday March 18. The election could allow President Nkurunziza, 54, who has been in office since 2005, to remain in power until 2034. The decree specifies that the reform will be adopted if the proportion of favorable votes is 50% plus one vote, and that parties or individuals wishing to participate in the campaign for or against this reform must register with the Independent National Electoral Commission ( CENI) between March 23 and April 6.
Articles about voting in the Republic of Burundi.
More than five million people have signed up to vote in Burundi’s controversial constitutional referendum in May and elections in 2020, which could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power until 2034.
By the end of the inscription process on Saturday, “a total of 5,000,742 people” signed up, including Burundians living abroad, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was quoted as saying Tuesday by local media. The figure was higher than CENI’s estimate of 4.5 million earlier. This includes those who will be of voting age in time for the referendum as well as people who will become adult by the 2020 general elections, Ndayicariye said. The CENI has not stated how many of the registered people will need to wait until 2020 to be of voting age.
A United Nations observer mission said Monday that last week’s presidential elections in Burundi were relatively peaceful but had not been “an inclusive free and credible” vote. Separately, the 15 UN Security Council members plan to hold consultations on the crisis Tuesday. In a preliminary report, UN observers said Thursday’s vote, which saw President Pierre Nkurunziza re-elected, was marred by violence and obstacles to freedom of expression and the press.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Burundi’s election this week “deeply flawed” and urged President Pierre Nkurunziza to hold a “meaningful, serious” dialogue with the African country’s opposition, the State Department said. Nkurunziza won a third term in Tuesday’s election, which was boycotted by the opposition. Rivals accused him of violating the constitution by running for another five years in office. The election commission said on Friday that the president, who cited a court ruling saying he could run again, had secured 73 percent of the vote. Nkurunziza’s re-election bid has plunged Burundi into its biggest crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. Dozens of people have been killed in weeks of protests and more than 170,000 have fled to refugee camps in neighboring states.
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term in office on Friday after the opposition boycotted the vote, a victory that leaves the east African nation politically divided and facing international isolation after months of unrest. Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term plunged Burundi into its biggest crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. The opposition says Nkurunziza’s bid violated the constitution and could spark another conflict. Major donors United States and the European Union, both critical of Nkurunziza, have threatened measures from cutting aid to imposing sanctions after Burundi went ahead with an election they said could not be free or fair.
The European Union is ready to impose sanctions on Burundians failing to help end the Central African nation’s crisis, the EU’s foreign policy chief said on Thursday, following elections that Brussels and Washington say were not credible. Facing its worst political crisis since the end of civil war in 2005, Burundi is awaiting the results of Tuesday’s vote in which President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term, breaking the two-term limit agreed in a peace deal a decade ago. “The European Union is preparing … to adopt, if necessary, targeted restrictive measures against those whose actions led to acts of violence, repression and serious human rights abuses or hinder the search for a political solution,” Mogherini said in a statement.
Votes were being counted Wednesday in Burundi, a day after a controversial presidential election was marred by pre-election violence that has led thousands of people to flee the country over the past few months. Results from the polls, which were condemned as illegitimate by the international community, are expected Thursday. The presidential election Tuesday is believed to have had low turnout, as President Pierre Nkurunziza ran without significant opposition for a third term. But electoral commission head Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye told The Associated Press Wednesday that between 72 and 80 percent of Burundi’s 3.8 million voters cast their ballots.
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.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard late Monday in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, on the eve of the country’s presidential election. The unrest comes amid tensions over incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term over objections by protesters and opposition politicians, who say he is flouting a constitutional ban. Witnesses in the capital’s northern Ngagara suburb said assailants had shot at police officers, who returned fire, while journalists from French news agency AFP heard three loud explosions and regular bursts of gunfire, though they could not say where the sounds were coming from. Explosions and shots were also heard in Nyakabiga, northeast of Bujumbura, and Kanyosha to the south, according to local residents.
Last-ditch talks between Burundi’s government and opposition aimed at resolving a major political crisis over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election bid appear to be headed for failure, sources close to the negotiations said. The closed-door talks, mediated by regional power Uganda, began earlier in the day but quickly descended into an acrimonious exchange with no sign of any consensus on how to end months of turmoil in the central African nation.