Re­sults, says it was law­ful

The East African - - NEWS -

ac­counted for 19.37 per cent. In­valid votes ac­counted for 4.1 per cent and ab­sten­tions ac­counted for 3.27 per cent.

“No ma­jor ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties that could in­flu­ence the poll re­sults were found dur­ing the anal­y­sis of the re­port sent by the Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion,” the judge said. “The court there­fore con­sid­ers that the con­sti­tu­tional ref­er­en­dum took place in ac­cor­dance with Bu­run­dian laws.”

The court’s pres­i­dent also said the com­plaint made by the op­po­si­tion coali­tion Bu­run­di­ans’ Hope over the reg­u­la­tions and the re­sults of the vote was found ground­less.

The new con­sti­tu­tion cre­ates the post of prime min­is­ter and cuts the num­ber of vice pres­i­dents from two to one. The prime min­is­ter is to be des­ig­nated from the rul­ing party, while the vice pres­i­dent will come from a dif­fer­ent party.

Bu­rundi’s op­po­si­tion had filed a pe­ti­tion in the con­sti­tu­tional court in a bid to in­val­i­date the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum.

Spokesman for the par­lia­men­tary group, Pierre-ce­lestin Ndiku­mana, told the me­dia that “there was a lot of in­tim­i­da­tion and ar­rests, with peo­ple pre­vented from par­tic­i­pat­ing in our cam­paign meet­ings.

“The vote was not free be­cause peo­ple were ac­com­pa­ny­ing vot­ers in the polling booth,” he said.

Ob­servers had widely ex­pected the re­forms to pass, partly due to the sup­port Pres­i­dent Nku­run­z­iza still com­mands in ru­ral ar­eas, but also due to a three-year crack­down on dis­sent, the me­dia and civil society.

The US de­nounced the “cli­mate of fear and in­tim­i­da­tion” and “lack of transparency” it said had marred the ref­er­en­dum and ques­tioned the re­sults.

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