BUJUMBURA, May 19 (Xinhua) — Central Africa’s Burundi is set to hold general elections on May 20, where about 5.1 million registered voters are expected to cast ballots to elect a new president, members of National Assembly and district councillors.
The following are some basic facts about the election:
The ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) elected its secretary general, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye as the party’s presidential candidate.
Under the new constitution promulgated in June 2018, the presidential term is extended from five to seven years and allows the president to serve two consecutive terms.
Opposition party National Council for Liberty’s Agathon Rwasa is widely predicted to be Ndayishimiye’s main challenger.
Other five presidential candidates include current First Vice-President Gaston Sindimwo from the National Progress Union (UPRONA), former Burundian president Domitien Ndayizeye from the Kira Burundi coalition.
In a bid to finance the general elections by Burundi itself and hence getting rid of possible influence from donors, the government started mobilizing financial contributions from citizens in 2017.
The May elections will be followed by the elections of senators and village councillors that will take place on July 20 and Aug. 24, 2020 respectively.
The landlocked country will have a new president for the first time in 15 years since the current president Pierre Nkurunziza from CNDD-FDD will not run for the presidency.
Burundi plunged into a crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term bid, which he won in July 2015. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup in May 2015.
Since April 2015, 300,000 Burundians had fled to neighboring countries following election-related violence, according to the UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
The overall security of Burundi has improved, and the current situation is generally stable. Many of Burundian refugees living in other countries have voluntarily returned.
However, violence among supporters of parties running in the race had occurred during a three-week electoral campaign starting April 27. Enditem
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet