Elections in… Burundi

29 April 2015 | ResolutionPossible

2015 is seeing millions of people in dozens of countries make their way to the polling stations for their countries’ general elections. With the UK’s general elections just over a week away, we are keen to find out how other elections are progressing around the world. Today we are looking at Burundi.

Earlier this month the Interntational Crisis Group published a report warning of the consequences if current president Pierre Nkurunziza illegally puts himself forward as a candidate after having already served two terms.

“Popular protests and the precedent set by the fall of Burkina Faso’s president suggest street confrontations will take place if President Nkurunziza decides to impose his candidacy. The return to violence would not only end the peace progressively restored since the Arusha agreement, it would also have destabilising consequences in the region and mark a failure in peace building.” – Elections in Burundi: Moment of Truth by the International Crisis Group

As the report predicted, it has indeed been declared that Pierre Nkurunziza will once again represent his party in the presidential elections on June 26th.

Mr Nkurunziza’s ruling party CNDD-FDD says that the current president “has the right to be elected“, even though he has already served two terms as Burundi’s president. The opposition says that Mr Nkurunziza running for president for a third term is “unconstitutional”: the constitution states that one president can only serve two five-year terms.

After the announcement of Mr Nkurunziza’s candicacy violence erupted throughout Burundi between his supporters and supporters of the opposition.

Burundi - Primus (2012)Burundi Tobacco Company, 2012FIN Bank Bujumbura 2012MIPAREC sign bujumbura 2012
Pictured above: Bujumbura November 2012 – Resolution:Possible visited the Burundian capital city as part of our research trip in the region. We could see that the relatively recent peace was helping the city’s economy grow; African beer giant Primus, Burundi Tobacco Company and FIN Bank all set up office in the city and governmental as well as civil society programmes for peace, justice and reconciliation were up and running. We hope the hard work of all these people will not have been for nothing.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the security services to remain impartial and exercise restraint in responding to public demonstrations and urged all parties to reject violence and avoid using inflammatory language or hate speech that could further increase tensions. He urged Burundians to resolve their differences through dialogue.

Are you in Burundi or from Burundi? Do you think dialogue is still possible?

Are you in another country holding elections this year? Share you thoughts and experiences.

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