Burundi rejects UN call for election delay

2015-06-27 13:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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New York - Burundi's ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council on Friday that elections will go ahead as planned on Monday despite a call from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a postponement.

"The government simply cannot accept to tumble head-first into an institutional vacuum, into a chasm," Ambassador Albert Shingiro told the 15-member council.

"That is why we're going to move forward to elections on Monday."

Parliamentary elections are set to be held on Monday and a presidential vote follows on July 15 despite months of turmoil over the president's bid for a third term in office.

Earlier on Friday, Ban Ki-moon called for a postponement after the opposition announced a boycott, saying in a statement that the delay was needed to create "a conducive environment for inclusive, peaceful and transparent elections".

Speaking to an emergency session of the council, the ambassador defended the move to hold elections and accused the opposition of acting "like spoiled brats" who are never satisfied.

Shingiro argued that "95% of the population wants to move forward to the election and not remain hostage to this radical minority, which does not want to see elections, which wishes to see a government of transition to ensure that they can occupy posts without having to respect the results of the vote".

Call for dialogue

Burundi has been plunged into violent turmoil since April when the president launched a drive to serve a third consecutive five-year term.

Opponents say President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for another term is unconstitutional and violates a peace accord that ended 13 years of civil war in 2006.

At least 70 people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled Burundi seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

In a statement adopted after days of negotiations, the 15-member council called for dialogue but shied away from proposing a delay after Russia raised objections, diplomats said.

Russia has for months balked at the UN statements on the Burundi election crisis, arguing that it is an internal matter to be handled by Burundians themselves.

Some African countries on the council were also reluctant to take a strong stance.

The council said in a statement that "dialogue should address all matters on which the parties disagree" and simply took note of African statements on postponing elections.

Burundi's opposition announced on Friday that it was boycotting the polls in a move backed by civil society, which called on the international community not to recognize the results.

Read more on:    un  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  ban ki-moon  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi elections 2015

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