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Burundi Postpones Elections Amid Violence

Burundi Postpones Elections Amid Violence

NAIROBI, Kenya — After weeks of unrest that left dozens of protesters dead and drove tens of thousands of people to flee the country, the government of Burundi has postponed parliamentary and presidential elections that were scheduled for this month.

The violence in the country, the worst Burundi has seen since an ethnically charged civil war ended nearly a decade ago, was touched off by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.

Opponents said the Constitution barred him from running again, and they accused him of ordering a brutal crackdown on protesters. Mr. Nkurunziza argued that his first five-year term in office did not count toward the Constitution’s two-term limit because he was installed by a vote of Parliament and not by a general election.

The protests continued after the country’s constitutional court backed the president on the issue. Shortly afterward, the vice president of the court, Sylvere Nimpagaritse, who is now in exile in Rwanda, told The Associated Press that the judges were pressured to rule that way.

“If we did not give the third term a green light, we were going to be in trouble,” he said in early May.

Source: Burundi Postpones Elections Amid Violence – NYTimes.com

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