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Burundi’s ruling party picks Ndayishimiye as presidential candidate

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 22, 2018 The secretary general of the Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD Evariste Ndayishimiye speaks to media in Bujumbra. – Burundi’s ruling party said on January 26, 2020 that party leader General Evariste Ndayishimiye will be its candidate in a presidential election in May 2020.<br />Ndayishimiye is an ally of current President Pierre Nkurunziza who will not seek a new mandate after his controversial election to a third term in 2015 plunged the country into crisis. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Burundi’s ruling party said Sunday that party leader General Evariste Ndayishimiye will stand as its candidate in a presidential election in May.

Ndayishimiye is an ally of current President Pierre Nkurunziza who will not seek a new mandate after his controversial election to a third term in 2015 plunged the country into crisis.

Nkurunziza was present when the CNDD-FDD party picked Ndayishimiye at an extraordinary party congress.

Nkurunziza’s tenure has been marked by allegations of grave rights abuses and a crackdown on political freedoms.

Constitutional changes would have allowed him to stay in office until 2034, but he said in 2018 that he would not stand for re-election again.

The violent aftermath of the last presidential election in 2015 made Burundi a focus of an investigation by the International Criminal Court for alleged murders, rapes, tortures, and disappearances.

Civil unrest left 1,200 people dead and drove 400,000 from their homes.

Ndayishimiye, 52, is already a key member of Burundi’s ruling elite.

He has served as interior and security minister and chief of the president’s military and civilian cabinet.

He was a key signatory of the 2003 ceasefire that ended Burundi’s civil war.

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