Govt ap­proves changes to con­sti­tu­tion, ex­tend­ing pres­i­dent’s stay in of­fice

The East African - - NEWS -

BURUNDI: The gov­ern­ment has ap­proved changes to the con­sti­tu­tion that could pave the way to a po­ten­tial 14-year ex­ten­sion in Pres­i­dent Pierre Nku­run­z­iza’s stay in of­fice, se­nior of­fi­cials said.

Min­is­ters, meet­ing on Tues­day in an ex­tra­or­di­nary ses­sion, gave their agree­ment in prin­ci­ple to the pro­posed re­forms, they said.

The head of Burundi’s op­po­si­tion fo­rum re­acted with fury, declar­ing Pres­i­dent Nku­run­z­iza had crossed a “red line” and should be chased from of­fice. The present con­sti­tu­tion de­rives from the coun­try’s 2000 peace agree­ment, which was signed in the north­ern Tan­za­nian town of Arusha to end a 12-year civil war that claimed more than 300,000 lives.

The planned changes do not touch eth­nic and gen­der quo­tas re­quired for the gov­ern­ment, par­lia­ment or po­lice, “but they no longer make a ref­er­ence to the Arusha peace agree­ment,” said one of the of­fi­cials.

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