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Burundi: ruling party wins the presidential election

Burundi’s ruling party candidate, the retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, has won the presidential election with 69% of votes cast, the electoral commission announced yesterday, after accusations of rigging by the leading opposition challenger.

The commission claimed opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa received 24% of votes. There was a turnout of 88%.

The Commission chairman, Pierre Claver Kazihise, said the turnout was “massive” and the election was straightly peaceful.

The vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza, however, was preceded by severe political violence, including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to the local rights group.

There was also constant controversy over holding the election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ruling party presidential candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye casts his vote in the presidential election, in Giheta, Gitega province, Burundi. Image credit Berthier Mugiraneza, AP

The days before the elections have never been quite in Burundi. In the last election in 2015, hundreds of Burundians lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands fled into exile after unrest surrounding when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by standing for a third term.

Rwasa has previously said he will take his complaints to the constitutional court, even though it is packed with the president’s allies.

Neither Rwasa nor Ndayishimiye was available for comment after the election results, and neither were their parties.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.

While economic growth is still at a standstill and political violence is common, an exiled Burundian rights group documented 67 killings, including 14 extrajudicial executions, and six disappearances between January and March.

Yet, once again there was no comment from the government, which has previously denied accusations of rights violations.

Image credit Yahoo News

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