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Burundi parliament opens

By on July 28, 2015

Burundi’s parliament opens on Monday after President Pierre Nkurunziza won a disputed election last week.

Agathon Rwasa, the leader of the opposition Amizero y’Abarundi coalition, is taking his seat with 20 members of his FNL party despite having boycotted the vote. “Can we leave all those people who voted for us to their fate though elections results are not that realistic?” Rwasa asked, once again rejecting the results of the election.

Opposition politicians were split over whether to take up their seats in the parliament. They boycotted the polls but candidates’ names were kept on the ballot papers and some of the lawmakers won seats in opposition strongholds.

The United Nations mission in Burundi on Monday said while the polls were broadly peaceful on election day, the “overall environment was not conducive for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process”.

The United States called the July 21 presidential vote “deeply flawed”, while regional observers said the poll “fell short” of being free and fair.

The government says the elections were fair and accuses the opposition of stoking tensions. Burundi says it wants good ties with donors but will not let them dictate policies.

Burundi’s electoral commission, CENI, said the opposition would be awarded any seats they won.

Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third five-year term plunged Burundi into its worst crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. The opposition says Nkurunziza’s bid violated the constitution and could spark another conflict.

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