elections in Burundi: Moment of Truth

Nairobi/Brussels: The elections scheduled to take place between the end of May and August 2015 will be decisive for Burundi. The future of the present rulers (President Pierre Nkurunziza considers running for a third term) and, more importantly, the upholding of the 2000 Arusha agreement as the foundation for peace, are at stake. Popular protests and the precedent set by the fall of Burkina Faso’s president suggest street confrontations will take place if President Nkurunziza decides to impose his candidacy. The return to violence would not only end the peace progressively restored since the Arusha agreement, it would also have destabilising consequences in the region and mark a failure in peacebuilding. To avoid this scenario, Burundi’s partners, who have already expressed their concerns, should increase their involvement in the electoral process and prepare a gradual response depending on how inclusive the process will be.

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With only weeks to go before elections, Burundians increasingly fear the consequences of President Nkurunziza’s plans to run for a third five-year term and to block strong opposition candidates. For many, this undermines the Arusha consensus that paved the way for peace more than a decade ago. Burundians are already leaving the country, alarmed that violence will flare up again.
Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa Project Director

Thierry Vircoulon
Comfort Ero

New violence and refugee flows could easily destabilise the Great Lakes region. President Nkurunziza’s ambition for a third mandate is stoking up concerns far beyond Burundi’s borders, and nearby states should do all they can to buttress the Arusha principles and internationally backed peace-building policies that secured the gains of Burundi’s post-civil war decade.
Comfort Ero, Africa Program Director @EroComfort

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

The risk of violence in Burundi is rapidly rising as a third term for President Nkurunziza becomes an increasingly likely prospect. The UN Security Council must urgently step up its engagement. It should task the UN envoy for the Great Lakes to play a mediating role between the opposition and the incumbent, and encourage regional leaders to use their influence to de-escalate the crisis.
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO @JGuehenno





*Please note, the full report is currently only available in French.