Burundi: Opposition Party Claims Police Detain More Than 200 Election Observers

Burundi’s main opposition party, National Freedom Council (CNL), said on Friday that the police detained more than 200 opposition electoral observers during this week’s election, alleging voting irregularities, reported Reuters.

“The voting was marred with several irregularities: arrests of over 200 CNL (observers), intimidation, people who voted several times or under the names of dead ones, refugees or prisoners,” said Terence Manirambona, the spokesman for the CNL.

The statement comes as the preliminary results of Burundi’s presidential election held on Wednesday put the ruling party far ahead of the opposition party. The election pits the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s candidate, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, against opposition leader Agathon Rwasa and five others.

Rwasa, leader of the National Council for Liberty party said described the preliminary results as a fantasy as he claimed that the results of the election do not reflect reality.

“Absolutely I reject these results. These results being declared are a fantasy. They do not reflect reality,” said Rwasa said as the first results came in. “We have won – whether in the presidential, legislative or local elections. We have the results to prove it.”

The opposition leader claimed that tallies done at polling stations on Wednesday clearly showed that his party was in the lead over the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s leader Ndayishimiye.

On Thursday, Burundi’s national election commission said Thursday that it would take several days to collect and tally all votes at official counting centres. The commission called for calm, while warning against reading into early and incomplete results.

Wednesday’s election was the first competitive presidential election since civil war erupted in the country in 1993. The full voting results are expected within a week. If no candidate wins 50% of the votes in the first round of election, then a run-off voting will be held within the next two weeks.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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