Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek re-election for a third term in office after receiving backing from the country’s Constitutional Court, as an opposition leader called for a delay in the vote. Protests over Nkurunziza’s plan to extend his decade-long rule continued on Wednesday in the capital, Bujumbura. The demonstrations erupted on April 26 after the ruling party nominated him to run in June elections, which opponents say violates a two-term limit stipulated in peace accords that ended a 12-year civil war in 2005. The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the 51-year-old leader is eligible to run.
“We note the judgment of the Constitutional Court in its entirety and we are committed to it,” Nkurunziza said in a statement published on the presidency’s website. “If the people of Burundi show confidence in us again, it will be the last mandate, as stipulated by the judgment.
The unrest in Burundi is stoking fears of a return to conflict if rebel groups abandon the agreements that ended the civil war in which 300,000 people were killed. It also has the potential to destabilize the Great Lakes region that includes the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s biggest source of cobalt and Africa’s top copper producer.