Burundi opposition takes presidential election dispute to court | News


Burundi's main opposition party has filed a case before the country's constitutional court contesting the outcome of last week's presidential election, claiming that there is evidence of fraud.

The Burundian electoral commission said on Monday that the ruling party candidate, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, had won the presidential election with 69% of the vote. He added that the candidate Agathon Rwasa got 24 percent of the vote and the election was peaceful.

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But Rwasa, the opposition leader of the National Liberty Council (CNL), in an interview with journalists Thursday after filing the complaint, said that "appalling mistakes were made in across the country, "adding that" no district or province has been spared. "

"We have provided evidence that there has been massive fraud," said Rwasa. "The results announced are false."

The court will have until June 5 to decide the case.

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Rwasa said that if the court did not rule in favor of the CNL, the party would take the case to the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania.

If the legal challenge fails, Ndayishimiye will be inaugurated in August for a seven-year term.

Reports of political violence

The May 20 vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza was preceded by reports of political violence, including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a defense group. local rights and Amnesty International.

There was also controversy over the holding of elections during the coronavirus pandemic, which critics said posed a risk to public health.

There were also no foreign observers present, as the government said they should be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in the country.

The country's last elections in 2015 were marked by violence, with hundreds of Burundians killed and hundreds of thousands exiled during the unrest, in which the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace agreement by standing for a third term.

Rwasa said the evidence in his file showed that people had voted using the identity of dead voters, that polling stations had used an electoral register that had never been published by the electorate and that the ballot boxes had been filled.

While the East African Community, a regional body, gave the elections a clean health check on Tuesday, the Burundi Bishops' Conference criticized the conduct during the poll, saying observers certain parties had been driven from the polling stations.

A joint statement released Wednesday by Western diplomats made no reference to any irregularities and urged the opposition to pursue legal channels to challenge the election results.

Electoral officials were not immediately available to comment on Rwasa's complaints.

Five other candidates also ran at the polls, to which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible.


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