Burundi to pick a candidate designate for presidential polls

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Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza

The Burundian ruling party is to hold Saturday, at the party head office in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, its extraordinary congress to elect its candidate to the forthcoming presidential election, the party chairman said Friday.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza

“One of the key issues to be discussed during tomorrow (Saturday)’s congress is the election of the party candidate to the upcoming presidential election,” Pascal Nyabenda, chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) told Xinhua by phone.
The ruling party congress is to be held while the submission of applications for the presidential election has been set between April 30 and May 9.
The congress is to take place while the ruling party is facing disagreements over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term.
Several senior officials from the east African country’s ruling party were last month sacked from the party and from the party for signing a petition requesting Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to avoid his plans to run a third term.
Meanwhile, the opposition and the civil society have called of mass protests nationwide on Sunday if the ruling party national congress designates Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.
Meanwhile, Burundian nationals from the northern provinces have been fleeing insecurity into Rwanda since last month.
On April 7, during his visit in Kirundo, Nkurunziza called for the repatriation of Burundian citizens who have fled “insecurity rumors” to Rwanda, urging them to return to Burundi within one month.
Last week, the Burundian government started a national campaign whereby government ministers and administration authorities deliver “peace and security messages” to the country’s citizens to allow a favorable climate for the upcoming elections.
The fugitives said they are intimidated by the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) youths (Imbonerakure) who were reportedly distributed arms.
They also fear rumors that violence might erupt if Nkurunziza runs a third term despite protests made by the opposition, dissidents from the country’s ruling party, the Roman Catholic Church and some civil society organizations.
Those groups argue that if Nkurunziza runs the third term, it will be a violation of the Arusha Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi and the Burundian Constitution.
While suggesting that a president (of Burundi) cannot serve the country for more than two terms, the Burundian Constitution is not clear on how many terms Nkurunziza has already served, as he was elected by the Parliament in 2005 and directly re-elected by citizens in 2010.
The Arusha Agreement however stipulates that no president should serve more than two terms of five years each.
Burundi is this year to hold general elections between May 26 and August 24, with the presidential election to be held on June 26. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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