President Nkurunziza campaigns despite call to delay the vote

first_imgNkurunziza has previously dismissed all previous calls for postponements, but Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe said the EAC request would be referred to “highest authority.” President Pierre NkurunzizaBurundi’s embattled president skipped key regional talks Monday to campaign for a controversial third term amid renewed security threats and international calls to delay the vote.The crisis in the central African nation revolves around President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third-term bid, which his opponents say is unconstitutional and violates a peace deal that brought an end to a dozen years of civil war in 2006.Leaders of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) had been due to meet Monday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but Nkurunziza instead sent his foreign minister.Kenya and Rwanda were also represented at the ministerial level, leaving host Jakaya Kikwete and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni the only presidents in attendance.The bloc called for elections to be delayed by two weeks, from July 15 to July 30.EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera said Museveni would now lead regional efforts to strike a deal after weeks of unrest, and a delay would allow him time “to lead the dialogue”. The EAC said it would deploy observers for the polls and called on Burundi to disarm armed groups, including the Imbonerakure, or youth wing of Nkurunziza’s ruling CNDD-FDD party.It urged Burundi’s rival factions to bury the hatchet and form a government of national unity “irrespective of whoever wins the presidential election.”last_img

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