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Burundi ruling party wins controversial parliamentary poll

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

The ruling party of Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has swept to an expected overwhelming victory in controversial parliament elections that were boycotted by the opposition, according to official results released Tuesday.

The CNDD-FFD party of Nkurunziza, who is seeking a disputed third term in office in upcoming presidential polls, won 77 out of 100 elected seats in parliament, with two more seats going to its ally UPRONA, according to the national election commission.

The opposition boycotted the June 29 polls, which the UN electoral observer mission said took place “in a climate of widespread fear and intimidation”.

The elections were also condemned by the African Union and European Union, while civil society groups backed the boycott calling on voters to skip the “sham elections” after months of turmoil.

Despite opposition boycott, the coalition Independents of Hope group of Agathon Rwasa and Charles Nditije won 11 seats.

The crisis in the central African nation revolves around Nkurunziza’s third-term bid, which his opponents say is unconstitutional and violates a peace deal that brought an end to a dozen years of civil war in 2006.

Over 70 people have been killed in more than two months of protests, with over 158,000 refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries.

Presidential polls are due on July 15 followed by senatorial elections on July 24.

Under the constitution, based on peace deals that paved the way for the end of a 13-year civil war in 2006, there are strict ethnic quotas in parliament.

Parliament must be made up of 60 percent from the majority Hutu people — who make up some 85 percent of the population — with the remaining 40 percent of elected seats reserved for the minority Tutsi. At least 30 percent of seats must also be held by women.

Three extra seats on top of the 100 voted for are reserved for the Twa ethnic group, which make up some one percent of the population.



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