Burundi constitutional court to examine president’s third term bid
Burundi’s constitutional court will examine the legality of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, the Senate said Wednesday, after days of violent protests over his plans to contest June elections.
Venant Barubike, private secretary to the Senate president, told AFP that a motion had been submitted to the court seeking interpretation of key articles related to a possible presidential third term.
At least five people have died in protests that erupted at the weekend after the ruling CNDD-FDD party designated Nkurunziza its candidate for the presidential election to be held in the central African nation on June 26.
Opposition figures and rights groups say Nkurunziza’s bid for a third consecutive term goes against the constitution as well as the peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the 13-year conflict, which divided the country along ethnic lines, between the Hutu majority and minority Tutsis.
African Union Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed the move, saying she was “pleased to note that the Burundi Senate has taken the third-term question to the constitutional court,” adding that “it must decide responsibly.”
The president, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian from the Hutu majority, has been in power since 2005.
His supporters say he is eligible to run again, given that he was elected to his first term by parliament — not directly by the people.
The constitution states that the president is elected by universal direct suffrage, “for a mandate of five years renewable one time.”