Voting commences in Burundi


Voting kicked off in the early hours of Wednesday in Burundi on Wednesday amid political tensions and the new coronavirus pandemic.

As the polls opened, citizens and journalists said access to social media was not possible without a virtual private network.

Over five million people in the country of nearly 12 million registered to take part in the election which is meant to usher in the first democratic transition in 58 years of independence for the East African country.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose government has repeatedly been accused of rights abuses, will step down after 15 years. His ruling CNDD-FDD party candidate, retired army general Evariste Ndayishimiye, is running against opposition leader Agathon Rwasa and five others.

If none of the seven candidates receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election will occur within weeks.

There will be few election monitors after the government said they would have to spend 14 days in quarantine to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Last week, the World Health Organization’s top official in Burundi was kicked out following public criticism that all parties were holding rallies despite the disease.

Burundi has reported only 42 coronavirus case and one death.


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