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Burundi opposition says ‘impossible’ to hold fair election next week


President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

Burundi’s main opposition parties said Wednesday that the holding of free and fair elections next week was “impossible” and that the result would not be recognised if they take place.

“The country has sunk into a political and security mess which in no way can allow for peaceful, transparent, free or credible elections,” Burundi’s main opposition parties said in a joint statement.

“Having an election campaign or holding a vote is impossible. We cannot have an electoral hold-up” by President Pierre Nkurunziza, the statement said.

Parliamentary elections in the crisis-gripped central African nation are due to be held on June 5, with a presidential poll scheduled for June 26.

The crisis surrounds a bid by Nkurunziza to stand for a third consecutive term in office.

Opposition and rights groups say Nkurunziza’s bid for a third five-year term violates the constitution as well as the terms of a peace deal that ended a 13-year civil war in 2006.

Street protests have taken place for the past month, leaving at least 30 dead in a violent crackdown by security forces, and the crisis deepened earlier this month when a top general staged a failed coup attempt.

The opposition parties said the crisis risked plunging the small, landlocked and impoverished country back into civil war.

“Endorsing such a process is equivalent to supporting a predictable civil war in Burundi,” the statement said, adding that foreign governments should “never recognise the election results”.

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