Burundi’s President Nkurunziza wins third term

President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Pierre Nkurunziza

The President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza has won the recent presidential by 69.41 per cent, followed by Agathon Rwasa of the Hope Coalition who did not take part in the polls, with 18.99%.

Releasing the provisional results Friday, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye revealed the turnout was more than 73%, although in opposition strongholds like the capital Bujumbura, Bururi and Rumonge provinces it was lower than 50%.

The country’s electoral commission announced the embattled incumbent president won in 16 provinces, and Rwasa carried Bujumbura rural and the newly created province of Rumonge along Lake Tanganyika.

Nkurunziza swept the central province of Karuzi 84.60 per cent, and won the Eastern province of Rutana by 79.81 per cent of the vote.

Ngozi, Nkurunziza’s home province registered the highest turnout in the country with 91.99 per cent, where crisis-hit capital Bujumbura came last with a paltry 29.75 per cent.

The ruling party, CNDD-FDD applauded both the results and the process. In a press statement released Thursday, the party thanked all Burundians in general, women in particular to have voted for the ruling party.

Agathon Rwasa’s camp has also thanked voters who supported them although they didn’t compete in the election.

“We did not have opportunity to run our campaign but people have confidence in us in such a way that they voted for us while we did not conduct campaigns. This is to show that if we had the opportunity we could earn much more,” says François Bizimana, Agathon Rwasa’s Spokesman

The international community and regional leaders have already indicated that the environment was not conducive for free and fair elections.

Prior to the election, they urged the government to sit and discuss a consensual electoral calendar with the opposition and civil society to enable all candidates run the campaigns, but the government defiantly “pressed on” with the controversial poll that was boycotted by key opposition candidates.

Protestors against the president’s third term bid, the opposition and civil society argue he is violating the constitution and Arusha Peace Agreement that limit the president to two five-year terms, and he must be elected through universal suffrage.

The president and his camp however, say because he was appointed by parliament in 2005 for his first term, he should be eligible for the third term.

It remains to be seen whether or not his contentious re-election will end the unrest.

Renegade generals who mounted a failed coup against President Nkurunziza in May have threatened an armed rebellion to force him out of power.