Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Burundi on May 20. As of Saturday, March 7, the main opposition party National Congress for Liberty (CNL) has confirmed that Agathon Rwasa will be their candidate in the election. Rwasa is the current chairman of the National Assembly and previously ran against President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2010 and 2015. After his candidacy was confirmed, Rwasa has issued multiple claims that there will be attempts to rig the vote in favor of the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The CNDD-FDD has selected the party’s current Secretary-General, Evariste Ndayishimiye, to be their candidate.
An increase in political events and election-related violence is possible in the near term. The UN has warned that human rights abuses may rise in the weeks leading up to the vote. During the 2015 elections, an estimated 1200 people were killed and over 400,000 displaced.
Political violence persists throughout Burundi since the country's contested July 2015 elections. Nkurunziza was elected to a controversial third term in 2015 even though Burundian law stipulated a maximum presidential tenure of two five-year terms prior to the referendum.
Individuals in Burundi are advised to keep abreast of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and election-related events as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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