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Burundi: Court Throws Out Opposition Election Challenge

Opposition Leader Agathon Rwasa of the National Liberation Forces party petitioned court last week seeking to nullify General Ndayishimiye’s 69% victory.

Burundi’s Constitutional court has rejected an opposition bid to overturn the results of last month’s election, declaring ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye the victor.

Opposition Leader Agathon Rwasa of the National Liberation Forces party petitioned court last week seeking to nullify General Ndayishimiye’s 69% victory.

Burundi President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Rwasa emerged second with 24% of the vote according to the Commission. In a petition last week, he said “appalling errors were made across the country, no district or province was spared”.

“We have provided evidence that there has been a massive fraud,” Rwasa told reporters.

Rwasa said the evidence in his filing showed that people had voted using dead voters’ identities and use of an electoral register which has never been published by the electoral body and ballot box stuffing.

The Conference of Bishops of Burundi on Tuesday also criticised the election conduct, saying some parties’ observers had been chased from polling stations.

However, the panel of judges on Thursday ruled that poll fraud complaints by Rwasa were “null and void”.

The East African Community and Western diplomats on made no reference to any irregularities in their approval of the electoral process early this week.

“The peaceful conclusion of the electoral process will not only be a big win for the people of Burundi, but for the East African Community as a region,” the EAC secretariat said in a statement.