Despite widespread international condemnation, bitter opposition within his own country and the threat of violent revolt, President Pierre Nkurunziza struck a defiant tone at a campaign rally Friday on a mountaintop near where government forces recently battled rebels. “The attempt of armed groups to destabilize the country did not last as long as the morning dew,” he said in his speech in Cibitoke, a province in the northwest near the border with Rwanda, citing the governing party’s victory in parliamentary elections as proof of widespread support, though the opposition boycotted the vote. “The people in all the provinces, all the counties, all the hills and all the fields, went to vote,” he said. “You have done well. And now tell each other what is ahead and that you will have to do even more.”
A wave of protests and political violence followed Mr. Nkurunziza’s announcement in April that he would run for a third term despite the Constitution’s two-term limit. He contends that because he was first elected indirectly by lawmakers in 2005, that first term should not count toward the limit.
Under pressure from regional and Western leaders seeking to avoid greater turmoil, Burundi’s government postponed the presidential election twice. It is now scheduled for Tuesday, and Mr. Nkurunziza made it clear on Friday that there would be no further delays.