Burundi ruling party’s candidate wins presidential election

Burundi’s election commission has declared the governing party’s candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, as the winner of the country’s presidential election last week.

The retired army general won 68.72 per cent of the votes, while Agathon Rwasa, the main opposition leader, received 24.19 per cent, the body said yesterday. Since Ndayishimiye has received over 50 per cent of the vote, he has avoided a runoff.

Ndayishimiye was picked by the governing CNDD-FDD party to succeed outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose controversial decision to seek a third term in the last election in 2015 sparked mass unrest and an opposition boycott.

Rwasa has already alleged foul play, saying early numbers showing his National Congress for Liberty party heading for a bruising defeat are a “fantasy”.

The May 20 vote, which was contested by seven presidential hopefuls, is meant to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in 58 years of independence.

There were few international election monitors on Wednesday after the government said they would have to spend 14 days in quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Rwasa has already hinted he would not take to the streets in protest and would appeal to the Constitutional Court, though he considers the process imperfect. The final election results will be declared by the Constitutional Court on June 4.

Ndayishimiye is expected to be sworn in for a seven-year term in late August, when Nkurunziza’s term ends.

It is unclear whether Ndayishimiye would be able to rule free from interference by Nkurunziza, who in February was elevated by Parliament to the rank of “supreme guide for patriotism” and will remain chairman of the party’s highly influential council of elders.


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