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Burundi President Wins Controversial Third Term

  • VOA Staff

Burundi Election

Burundi Election

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has won a third term in office after amid continued controversy over whether his re-election is constitutional.

Mr. Nkurunziza won 69 percent of the vote while his closest rival, Agathon Rwasa, got 19 percent, electoral chief Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said Friday. The tally gave him a first-round victory.

The U.S. and Britain have condemned Tuesday's vote as not credible due to pre-election violence, alleged intimidation of opposition groups and questions over whether the president is violating the constitution's two-term limit.

Earlier this week, former Burundian president, Domicien Ndayizeye, urged the international community to reject the election results.

Opponents contend a third term violates the constitution and the peace deal that ended Burundi's civil war in 2006. But Burundi's constitutional court ruled the Mr. Nkurunziza was eligible to run because he was chosen by lawmakers rather than voters for his first term in 2005.

Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted in April after the 51-year-old Nkurunziza, from Burundi's majority Hutu ethnic group, announced he would stand for a third consecutive five-year term.

Since then, protests and political unrest have prompted more than 170,000 Burundians to leave the country.

Government officials reported at least three people -- two policemen and an opposition official -- were killed in a night of gunfire and explosions before the election.

The presidential election follows a parliamentary vote last month that Mr. Nkurunziza's party easily won. The opposition also boycotted that vote, which was criticized internationally for not being free or fair.