On Wednesday 10th June, the presidency announced that Burundi will go ahead with parliamentary elections on 29th June and a presidential poll on 15th July.
While the elections have been delayed in line with calls from regional powers so that talks can take place between the government and opposition parties, Wednesday’s confirmation comes just a day after the president’s spokesman repeated that the divisive candidacy was “non-negotiable,” adding that there will be no further delays to the election calendar. The opposition has already rejected proposals for a new timetable, with officials indicating that conditions for holding fair polls were not met as independent media has been shut down and many opponents have fled the country.
Since late April, the East African nation has been in a political crisis over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive five-year term. The opposition has branded the move as unconstitutional, stating that it is a violation of a 2006 peace agreement, which ended 13 years of civil war. The move has also sparked weeks of violent demonstrations. Around forty people have died in a police crackdown on protests in the capital city, Bujumbura, and nearly 100,000 Burundians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Last month, the president survived a coup attempt and has since been faced with growing international pressure, that has included aid cuts aimed at forcing him to reconsider. Despite this, the president has remained determined to proceed with his bid for a third term in office, going so far as to request Burundians to donate money to pay for the upcoming elections.