Burundi’s government has defied opposition demands for President Pierre Nkurunziza to end a third-term bid for power, as the UN warned the country risked being “catapulted” back into civil war. “This decision is non negotiable,” Philippe Nzobonariba, a government spokesman, said on Tuesday. Aljazeera was there:
Nkurunziza’s opponents say his candidacy is unconstitutional and goes against the 2006 Arusha peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war. About 40 people have died and scores more have been injured in protests that began when Nkurunziza announced in late April that he would stand again, after Burundi’s constitutional court gave him the green light.
The president survived a coup attempt last month and has since faced down international pressure, including aid cuts, aimed at forcing him to reconsider. The opposition has rejected proposals for the new election timetable, saying conditions for holding fair polls were not met.
“If things remain as they are, we consider that it will be a masquerade, a parody of elections,” Charles Nditije, an opposition leader, told the AFP news agency late on Monday, demanding the setting up of a new independent electoral commission.