Burundi Opposition Rejects New Poll Date | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Burundi Opposition Rejects New Poll Date

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 8:07 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Burundi’s opposition has rejected a proposal by the electoral commission to hold presidential polls on July 15.

The opposition said its demand for free elections has not been met.

It also called for UN mediator Said Djinnit to resign, saying he had failed to tackle the crisis in the poor central African state.

Burundi was hit by protests and a failed coup after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April that he would run for a third term.

He has rejected calls not to run again, despite Western donors cutting some aid to the country.

Mr. Nkurunziza needs to approve the new date before elections can be held.

The proposed date falls short of a call by regional leaders to delay the poll, which had been scheduled for June 26, by at least six weeks.

The commission has proposed that parliamentary elections, originally due on June 5, be shifted to June 26.

None of the opposition parties attended the meeting on Monday where the commission unveiled the new dates.

A group of 17 opposition parties had earlier issued a statement saying they were committed to dialogue, but repeated their demand for the 51-year-old Mr. Nkurunziza to quit.

Reports said that one of the main opposition parties, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), has condemned the electoral commission’s proposal as unconstitutional.

FNL Secretary-General Adolphe Banyikwa said the five-member body lacked a quorum, after two of its members fled to Rwanda because they feared for their lives.

Its decisions were, therefore, invalid, Mr Banyikwa said.

Another opposition leader, Charles Nditije, said that Burundi could not hold elections in the current climate.

“If things remain as they are, we consider that it will be a masquerade, a parody of elections,” Mr. Nditije said.

Meanwhile, the main civil society group in Burundi said it had written to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, demanding Mr. Djinnit’s resignation.

Mr. Djinnit had not focused on Mr. Nkurunziza bid for re-election, which is the root of the crisis in Burundi, the letter said.