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.
Nkurunziza won 69.41 percent of the 2.8 million votes cast on Tuesday, winning handsomely in the rural regions where most of Burundi’s 10 million people live, the national electoral commission chief announced at a press conference on Friday. His nearest rival, Agathon Rwasa, took 18.99 percent.
The opposition, which had complained about frequent police intimidation of its members and shuttering of private media, rejected the result. “We will not recognize the outcome of this election and the institutions resulting from it,” Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, president of the opposition FRODEBU party, said after Nkurunziza was announced the winner.