Burundi Presidential Elections Postponed

Burundi’s presidential election has been postponed until 21 July, advice web a presidential spokesman said on Saturday.

The announcement came after African leaders urged a delay to try to stem escalating violence in a nation that emerged from civil war only a decade ago.

Last Friday over 300 suspected rebels took over two hills, healing an incursion that raised fears the troubled nation could soon slip back into a civil war.

The national army clashed with the gunmen in Kayanza province, visit near the border with Rwanda. The governor of Kayanza, Canesius Ndayimanisha, said the gunmen had crossed from Rwanda, a charge denied by Kigali but which will fan fears of a wider conflict.

One of the attackers was captured by Burundi forces and several others sustained injuries.

This is the second attack in a year following President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.

On May 13, Nkurunziza survived a coup as he attended a regional leaders’ meeting in Tanzania on the crisis in Burundi.

Asked whether the election had been delayed, the presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho said Nkurunziza had signed a decree in response to a request from leaders of east African states and South Africa.


The African nations had sought a delay until 30 July to give President Yoweri Museveni, time to try to mediate between the opposing groups. Abayeho said such a delay “would be beyond constitutional limits”.

The constitution requires an election is held at least a month before the end of the president’s term, which is on 26 August.

Burundi’s opposition is boycotting the election, saying President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term is unconstitutional. The announcement of his re-election bid in April triggered weeks.


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