Burundi’s leading opposition figure on Saturday registered to run in a coming presidential election against Pierre Nkurunziza, whose quest for a third term has sparked two weeks of protests. Nineteen people have died in the demonstrations against Nkurunziza’s bid for another term, which opponents say violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically-charged civil war in 2005. “I presented my candidacy to respect Burundi’s constitution and the country’s electoral law,” Agathon Rwasa, who like Nkurunziza led a Hutu militia in the war, told reporters.
“I want to clarify that I have not filed my candidacy to endorse the unconstitutionality of President Nkurunziza. It is a way to block his path as he is obviously forcing to be the single candidate.”
Rwasa has asked the electoral commission to postpone the parliamentary election in May and the June presidential vote, saying it is not possible to hold peaceful and free elections.