Burundi: Elections Campaign Afoot

Supporters of the ruling party, the National Council for Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).

For 21 days, candidates for the municipal, legislative and presidential elections will crisscross the enter nation to woo voters.

Municipal, legislative and presidential elections campaigns have started in Burundi. The exercise began yesterday, April 27, 2020, throughout the nation ahead of the May 20, 2020 triple elections. Candidates will have 21 days to campaign according to the electoral law and end on May 17, 2020. Campaign for the election of senators will begin on June 27, 2020 and end on July 17, 2020, while the electoral campaign for village councilors will run from Aug. 1 to 21, 2020. For the presidential election, seven candidates will try to convince voters during their three weeks of campaign. Prominent among these candidates are, General Evariste Ndayishimié, who is carrying the colours of the ruling party (CNDD-FDD), in place of the outgoing Head of State Pierre Nkurunziza, who has decided to step down. General Evariste will have a tough nut to crack against the main opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, leader of the new National Council for Freedom (CNL). There is also, Domitien Ndayizeye, transitional president between 2003 and 2005, now head of the Kira Burundi coalition. Like three other contenders, his candidacy was initially rejected by the Electoral Commission (CENI), but was rehabilitated after winning an appeal at the Constitutional Court. General Ndayishimiye is expected to start his campaign in the new political capital, Gitega, while Mr Rwasa will be in Ngozi province in the north. According to a decision by the CENI, each presidential candidate and their team would have between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to convince voters. Any propaganda outside this period is prohibited, CENI reiterated. Apart from the political class, the civil society actors are already mobilized. After the political crisis of 2015 and the failure of the dialogue launched under the aegis of the East African Community, six organizations have indeed set up a joint project to monitor human rights violations. In a press release, they called on the authorities to "guarantee the security of the entire population during this electoral period where opponents are regularly threatened" as well as to "scrupulously respect the electoral rights of candidates and voters".

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