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Burundi elections may be delayed after coup bid: presidency


President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Pierre Nkurunziza

Parliamentary and presidential elections due to take place in Burundi in May and June could be delayed in the wake of the coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza, his office said Sunday.

Asked if elections would go ahead as scheduled, Willy Nyamitwe, a close aide to the president, replied that delays had happened in the past and that the central African nation’s election commission “could decide to delay” the polls.

Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third consecutive term in office has been at the centre of Burundi’s political crisis, with activists and the opposition arguing it goes against the constitution and the peace deal that brought an end to the country’s civil war in 2006.

Nyamitwe was speaking after Nkurunziza made his first official appearance since an attempted coup, appearing relaxed and assertive of his full control over the country.

Despite weeks of protests, a coup attempt and international pressure, Nkurunziza gave no sign he had changed his mind about standing for re-election.

Parliamentary elections are due to take place on May 26, and presidential polls on June 26. Nyamitwe suggested they could be delayed by “two or three days, by a week”.

He also said the presidency condemned attacks against independent radio stations, which were shut down during the coup-related violence — according to witnesses by security forces loyal to the president.

“Burning the media, for the presidency, this is to be condemned with our fullest energy,” he insisted.

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