According to the Burundi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, June 15, president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye will be sworn into office in an inauguration ceremony in Gitega on Thursday, June 18. The event has been fast-tracked by the Constitutional Court following the unexpected death of outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza of heart failure on Monday, June 8. Diplomats and foreign organizations are invited to attend the ceremony and strict COVID-19 social distancing measures are expected to be in place for the event.
On May 25, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that Ndayishimiye of the governing National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party had won Burundi's presidential election held on May 20. Ndayishimiye achieved 68.72 percent of the vote, with nearest rival Agathon Rwasa achieving 24.19 percent, enough of a majority to avoid a runoff election.
The May poll was the first competitive presidential election to be held in Burundi since the country's 1993 civil war, with President Nkurunziza stepping down after his controversial third term in office. Nkurunziza's victory in the previous 2015 election cast the country into a long-running and violent political crisis which has seen at least 1200 people killed and over 400,000 displaced.
Despite claims of impartiality from the CENI, there remain significant concerns over the openness of the country's election process, with independent oversight being severely restricted after most international observers were barred from the country ahead of the poll.
Individuals in Burundi are advised to remain apprised of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and election-related events as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, and heed all directives issued by the local authorities.
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