Burundi postpones general election


At the eleventh hour Burundi has decided to delay its general election and local elections which were scheduled to take place today. The Presidential election, which was set for 26th June was not mentioned in the announcement, may well be delayed unless the government and opposition can have meaningful talks.

Regional heads of state and the international community had been pressuring President Pierre Nkurunziza to delay elections after protests, riots and an attempted coup broke out last month. The protests erupted after the President announced that he intended to seek a third term in office even though the constitution stipulates two terms only. The President and his party had said that the two term limit wasn’t relevant because his first term came after a long civil war and he was appointed by parliament rather than elected by the people.

Although there has been an attempted clampdown on protests after the attempted coup d’etat the protests have continued and more than 100,000 people have fled the country. Late last month an opposition leader who was involved in one of the protests was assassinated and more than 40 other people have died in the protests.

The government is now seeking “a frank and constructive dialogue” and the country’s foreign minister told the BBC that he hoped elections would be held by 26th August.

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