Burundi’s president endorses new poll dates

2015-06-10 11:25
Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

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Bujumbura - Burundi's president on Wednesday endorsed a new election timetable, hours after the United Nations warned increasing violence committed by pro-government militia could push the country into a civil war.

President Pierre Nkurunziza approved presidential elections for July 15, followed by senatorial elections on July 24, as proposed by the electoral commission and a group of ministers on Tuesday.

Nkurunziza, however, pushed back the proposed date for parliamentary and local government elections to June 29 - three days later than the commission's proposal, according to presidential spokesperson Willy Nyamitwe.

The proposal comes after the East African Community recommended the delay of elections because of weeks of anti-government protests and a failed coup attempt.

Burundi's opposition rejected the new dates, saying the elections commission was not capable of functioning properly because two of five commissioners resigned last week.

Refugees in neighbouring countries meanwhile reported that the pro-government Imbonerakure movement has committed crimes - including executions, abductions and torture, which "could tip an already extremely tense situation over the edge," warned UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

Human rights activists say more than 30 people have been killed in nationwide protests which started on April 26. Demonstrators say Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to seek a third term violates the constitution.

Former intelligence chief, major general Godefroid Niyombare, attempted to seize power in Burundi in May after Nkurunziza announced his candidacy, but the plot failed a few days later.

Read more on:    un  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  burundi 2015 elections

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